Imperium (2016)


For the most part, Imperium was going amazingly well. Palpably tense & provocative, it really is a shame that when it was time to detonate the bomb which had been on the verge of explosion for a while, it decides to cop-out and take a detour instead to reach its destination, thus ruining the entire journey its audience invested in.

Imperium tells the story of a young FBI agent who decides to go undercover to find leads on some missing cans of a radioactive material when a connection appears between its disappearance and a white supremacist group. But in order to foil whatever it is that those fanatics are planning, he first needs to immerse himself into the spiteful culture.

Written & directed by Daniel Ragussis, Imperium marks his feature film debut and it would’ve been such a terrific start to his career had he managed to finish things off with a better climax because, considering everything that came before it, the ending is just not worth the wait, and finishes this tale on a rather uninteresting & underwhelming note.

Nevertheless, to give credit where credit is due, Ragussis expertly demonstrates that he isn’t just capable of creating a nail-bitingly tense atmosphere but can sustain it too for as long as required. His direction is brilliant but his screenplay feels like it is missing the final chapter. The themes are disturbing but it is addressed in a very sensible & calculated manner.

The movie offers quite an insight into the white supremacists’ culture & activities, and tries to illustrate it from inside out. Despite what its charged ambience may suggest, there isn’t much violence in the film but a number of scenes are inflammatory. And all of it is further fuelled by is its kinetic camerawork, taut editing & a surprisingly intense leading performance from Daniel Radcliffe.

On an overall scale, Imperium is a highly gripping, thoroughly engaging & often unnerving cinema that is crafted with confidence and remains volatile for the majority of its 109 minutes runtime but is unfortunately marred by a weak finale. Still, it is a hopeful start for the new filmmaker in town & possibly an indication of better things to come from him, and solely for Radcliffe’s strong input, this crime thriller warrants a viewing.