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Imperium
BLU-RAY disk
11.08.2016 By: Jason Adams
Imperium order download
Director:
Daniel Ragussis

Actors:
Daniel Radcliffe
Toni Collette
Nestor Carbonell

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
An unassuming FBI agent is tasked with infiltrating the white supremacist movement in order to stop a possible terrorist attack.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?

Danielle Radcliffe continues being a fascinating actor post-Harry Potter. Who else can say they spent 2016 playing a corpse (SWISS ARMY MAN) a magic villain (NOW YOU SEE ME 2) and now an undercover neo-Nazi in IMPERIUM?

Based on the work of former FBI agent Michael German (who also helped with the script), IMPERIUM doesn’t break the mold on undercover cop stories, but it does a solid job avoiding the usual trappings and cliches that come with the territory. The film explores hatred in all its forms--the skinheads and thugs inciting violence on the streets, the media pundits getting rich off of other people’s bigotry, and even the family men and “normal” people who secretly perpetrate the cause while living undetected amongst the populace.

It’s a slow burn in terms of pacing, but no less intense. There isn’t much in the way of standard action scenes, just an abundance of drama and tension as Radcliffe goes deeper and deeper down the white rabbit hole. (The subject matter itself is disturbing enough.) The movie also has an interesting flow; there’s no singular villain or ultimate endgame. Instead IMPERIUM is content to just explore the world and expose its dark side.

Writer/director Daniel Ragussis makes his feature debut with this film and is confident with the tricky, delicate subject matter. A lesser filmmaker could go for violent shock value or preachy sentimentality, but IMPERIUM avoids that. And honestly Ragussis is very lucky to have Radcliffe in his corner. It’s a difficult role and Radcliffe loses himself in it, while still being a relatable conduit for the audience. After a few minutes, you forget he’s a former British wizard and just enjoy what is easily his best performance yet.

THE EXTRAS

Commentary by director Daniel Ragussis and writer Michael German: Ragussis has a lot to share about the production and his first time directing a full-length film (and plenty of good things to say about Radcliffe), but most interesting about this track is the participation from German, who based much of the script on his own experiences. It’s great having the real life side to compare the film too.

Making IMPERIUM (18:37): At nearly 20 minutes, this is a fairly lengthy but standard production featurette, with cast and crew interviews interspersed with scenes from the movie.

Living Undercover (3:44): This is essentially a shorter version of the above featurette. Same interviews and everything.

Cast and Crew Interviews (1:44:22): Almost two hours worth of interviews with Daniel Radcliffe, director Daniel Ragussis, writer Michael German and various combinations of the three. Lots of great info in here to unpack if you’re willing to sit through it all.

FINAL DIAGNOSIS

IMPERIUM is admittedly Daniel Radcliffe’s show, as the young actor gives a stellar and surprising performance, but the rest of the movie is a pretty solid drama-thriller as well.

Extra Tidbit: Michael German spent 20 months undercover for the FBI, first among white supremacists and then among right-wing militants.

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