classic documentary structure, interviews and re-enacments, but overall it fails to dig deeper into why that family accepted a stranger as their boy or why that man wanted to be someone else...promising subject but a simplistic approach. barely scratching the surface of a really interesting story
Brilliant how Layton enabled Bourdin to manipulate the audience as he did the family, following the officer's search for the boys body to accentuate Bourdin's ability to manipulate and coerce. It's easy for people to criticise the family, but how many people were expecting the officer to find a body? How many people were suspecting the family of his death?
"It was vital to find a visual style that didn’t feel like ‘re-enactment’, that felt cinematic and also fitting to a story as unusual as this one. My idea was to play with notions of memory and subjectivity..., to blur the lines between documentary and drama..., to try to recreate that movie that plays in your head when someone tells you a truly extraordinary story." - Layton interview, Filmmaker Magazine
Really captivating and totally shocking story, but the true-crime style of the documentary was distracting and almost made me quit the movie before the halfway point. Of course, there is a lack of relevant home movie footage since the story centers around someone who disappeared, but the re-enactments were gratuitous and over-the-top.
Found out about this via Tony Zhou's "Every Frame A Painting." Plot twist on plot twist on plot twist – and it's a documentary! A wonderful examination of the ways in which people fool people, people fool themselves, and viewers get fooled by filmmakers. With a simple, beautiful formalistic touch that I would recommend you learn about in Zhou's series.