Sometimes you watch something with a premise so implausible, so outrageous it has to be true. Some things remind you of the reality of the human condition: our willingness to accept and live lies; the ease with which we can be deceived and manipulated even when everything points to a con. It is hard to say whether this psychological trait is a product of gullibility and stupidity. Perhaps it is neither – perhaps it says more about our readiness to accept things at face value based on the assumption that people are basically decent and wouldn’t tell such obvious lies. More than a few people have found out the hard way the naïveté of this outlook, as the documentaries The Imposter and Catfish and the film based on a true story Compliance clearly show.
The Imposter is a textbook example of such a premise that, were it a work of fiction, you’d probably switch it off for being too far-fetched. Three years after the disappearance of 13 year old Texan Nicholas, he is found alive half way around the world in Spain. He tells a story of kidnap and torture and is returned to his family in the States, who appear to be oblivious to the increasing number of glaring inconsistencies with the son who disappeared and the teenager before them sporting stubble, a different appearance and a European accent. Their unquestioning acceptance of this rather obvious imposter is as notable as the audacity of the con itself.