ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  gary fleder

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  sci-fi

LENGTH  -  120 minutes

RELEASED  -  4 january 2002

DISTRIBUTOR  -  dimension films

OFFICIAL SITE  -  unknown

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $40,000,000
impostor - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from impostor at

buy the dvd from impostor at

this movie was originally slated for release in the summer of 2000, but wasn't until january of 2002.

was the opening film of the venice international film festival.


picture from impostor

picture from impostor

picture from impostor


zero out of four possible stars

Based on a short story by Philip K. Dick, Impostor tells the unique story of a man living in the year 2079 who creates the ultimate weapon to use against an alien race, only to be accused of being an alien himself. Too bad it's not that interesting on the screen. The idea is intriguing and the film probably had a lot of promise, but somehow, Philip Dick's story (he also penned the forth coming Minority Report) just didn't translate that well to a film. There are a variety of factors which prevent this film from becoming more than a late night original film on the Sci-Fi Channel and story development is probably the most important. This film never lets the viewer learn in-depth about the lives of its characters. This ninety-minute film serves more as a chase movie from the future than a thought provoking sci-fi drama.

Which it might have been, if not for the fact that so much of the film was focused on watching Gary Sinise run away from Vincent D'Onofrio. And it was dark as well, making it literally hard to see what exactly was going on. This film starts out with a lot of appeal, its idea is pretty original, but the screenplay isn't really fleshed out enough to allow the viewer more than a faint understanding about any of these characters. It wouldn't have been possible to go that far in depth in an hour and a half, but some of the running time that was taken up with chase scenes could have been put to better use in story and character. And for some reason, these chase scenes were inordinately long as well. The fighting and running and shooting just went on and on.

And it didn't seem to serve any other purpose other than taking up screen time. The movie stalled during each of these many sequences. Because of its plot, the movie all but invited the "chase" element into the story, but during these scenes, the filmmakers could have easily thrown in some information about the characters. It didn't all have to involve track races and guns. The cast for this film should have produced a better movie. There were no performances that seemed lacking. In fact, although the cast was small, it seems that the story failed the actors, rather than the other way around. One of the biggest mistakes of the film was the adaptation. It wasn't "in depth" enough to create a sci-fi world with fascinating characters and a unique story.

One of the most important things to remember when creating a science fiction genre film is that the world created must be entirely unique and fresh. But impostor wasn't. The adapted script was lackluster, and, come to think of it, so was the art direction. It was obvious that the futuristic buildings used in the movie were modern buildings, which were just made with a lot of cement. Aside from a very few shots of the futuristic vistas of the city, there was not a lot of things that created a realistic world of 2079 on earth. In fact, there didn't seem to be much effort taken on the part of the production designers and costumers to create a world that was all that different from the one of today.

In other films that have tried to create a world not so far removed from our own, the scenes have looked subtly different, and somewhat off from the normal dress of people today. But in Impostor, the clothing was pretty much the same. This is not to say that people 80 years from now will be wearing translucent blue plastic rings instead of regular clothing, but everything in the film could have been a little bit more creative. Perhaps it was lack of budget, but whatever the reason, this film just runs along as a chase movie that for all intents and purposes could have occurred last week. Something which might not have been noticed by all viewers was the fact that the aliens, who were ever-present in the film, were never shown. Even in the flashbacks near the beginning of the film, the aliens are never on screen.

Yet all throughout the film, they're the subject on everybody's minds. It was something that was a nagging factor against the enjoyment of this film. These aliens were public enemy number one, and yet the audience never sees them. And even though Gary's character is supposed to be one, he's disguised as a human. All over the city are huge posters that say things like "at any cost," referring to winning the war with the aliens. Evidence of the aliens' presence is everywhere, yet we, as the audience, never get to learn what they look like. Nothing is even said by any of the characters about what they look like. For being a movie about a bunch of humans at war with an alien race, it would have been nice to have a picture in mind. Even if they looked like John Travolta in Battlefield Earth.

But perhaps the largest nail in this movie's coffin is the way the whole thing ends. More than being infinitely predictable, it tries to put a twist on the ending that's like the conclusion of a bad movie. It's not the fact that the ending is so predictable. Or even that that the entire movie is so predictable. It's that they tried to pull a fast one on the audience that any viewer can see coming about ten minutes into the movie. On a final note, it seems that this film would have been better served had it appeared on the Sci-Fi channel as one of those original films. It doesn't have the production values of a major hollywood motion picture and its length, ninety-six minutes, would have fit perfectly into the commercial ridden state of television. This film was probably two seconds from being declared direct-to-video and perhaps it was only released theatrically because of Gary Sinise's involvement as producer on the flick.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

content 2000 - - ninth symphony films - photographs dimension films 2002
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