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Review: Imperium

Imperium
08.17.2016
8 10

PLOT: An idealistic young FBI agent goes undercover to track down a group of radical white supremacists. 

REVIEW: Very few child actors have made the transition to adult roles quite as well as Daniel Radcliffe. The star of HARRY POTTER is the rare talent that takes incredible risks and continues to take on exciting projects. His latest is certainly yet another smart move for the actor. In IMPERIUM, he portrays an idealistic FBI agent who goes undercover within a radical white supremacist terrorist group. Directed by Daniel Ragussis - who also wrote the script with story credit for Michael German - this crime drama examines the relationship built with those he is trying to stop from a possible domestic terrorist attack. It’s an intriguing take on the subject that manages to create very believable characters on both sides of the law.

Nate Foster (Radcliffe) is a young FBI agent, one that wants to make a difference. Driven and hard-working, he is soon convinced by seasoned agent Angela Zamparo (Toni Collette) to take on a very dangerous job. Soon Foster finds himself deep undercover within a group of white supremacist, some of which may have serious plans of bombing an area close to Washington DC. When he gets closer to the man he suspects to be the ringleader, Foster realizes that not everything is what it seems. This is especially clear when he discovers that some of those involved are deeper in than he had anticipated. The longer he remains in their company, the sooner he comes to the realization that the most dangerous culprits may not be quite so obvious.

2016 Burn Gorman Crime Daniel Radcliffe Daniel Ragussis Drama Imperium Sam Trammell thriller Toni Collette

There is something truly fascinating about watching this young man navigate between Zamparo and the Nazi sympathizers with whom he must earn trust. Those he must contend with include a controversial radio talk show host named Dallas Wolf (Tracy Letts), as well as a family man named Gerry Conway (Sam Trammell) who stands by the Aryan brotherhood. There is an impressive juxtaposition between the two worlds, creating some serious drama for Foster. The film paints pictures of the white supremacists as very real characters, some with dangerous plans, with an intense hatred of minorities and the government who they see as a threat.

Radcliffe is terrific as the wide-eyed agent who must quickly adapt to the constant danger he finds himself in. It’s one hell of a good performance. And while he may still look young, he ably commands the screen which is necessary for when he must prove to be in the same league with Wolf, Conway and the other men involved. And while both Trammell and Letts are terrific, the other members of the group are especially convincing. As for Ms. Collette, the actress gives a solid performance as a driven agent looking to stop the next domestic attack. The scenes with both her and Radcliffe crackle with energy. Collette’s Zamparo is a whip smart, gum chewing, investigator. When she plays opposite Radcliffe, you just can’t take your eyes off the two.

2016 Burn Gorman Crime Daniel Radcliffe Daniel Ragussis Drama Imperium Sam Trammell thriller Toni Collette

Another plus as to what works here is the simplicity of the story. You won’t find car chases, gun fights or any other extreme acts. This is a grounded thriller that is more of an examination into what somebody must go through while undercover. Occasionally this can backfire. One scene is clearly attempting to build suspense, yet it is too early on to really have you guessing whether our hero will survive or not. It may be a good scene, but not nearly as impactful as you’d think it would be. However this subtle intensity works more often than not, and you do question what lengths Foster will go to and whether or not he is correct about the destruction that may be waiting. It’s a smart thriller without a ton of flash.

IMPERIUM is a good film. As a moral examination of going undercover, it manages to create some fascinating characters that are all facing their own struggles. Of course, none of it would have worked without a solid actor in the leading role, and you can’t do much better than Radcliffe.The thrilling intensity between he and Collette is enjoyable to watch, and it only helps to build on the mounting tension. With an unnerving score from composer Will Bates, there is an undercurrent of excitement that builds early on. Even if the climax won’t leave you on the edge of your seat, there is much to appreciate in this sharp thriller. And yes, this only continues to prove that Daniel Radcliffe knows how to pick challenging material especially well.

Source: JoBlo.com

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