“This has been an incredibly difficult week (I’m writing on 11/12, though this’ll post later) to say the least, not just for me, but for much of the country. But first, let’s backtrack to a more blissful time. This past Sunday. I was doing my usual Sunday morning check for new releases and sale items on Best Buy. Yes, this has been a weekly ritual for years. I had just _finally_ cleared out my new DVD queue (between the move and trying to get thru the Dawson’s Creek series box set, things got piled up), so I was looking for something new. I’d really wanted to see Imperium when it was in theaters, but the release was so small and quick, it didn’t happen. The DVD was released about two weeks ago, but I passed, thinking I’d wait for Netflix and/or a sale. But when I saw it there on my wishlist at a reasonable price, I felt a very overwhelming desire to watch it. Sure, what the hell. It arrived this past Wed, the day after Election Day.
I was already thinking I’d want to watch it that movie as soon as I got it, but in the context of what happened, I felt it even stronger. Inspired by true events, Imperium stars Daniel Radcliffe as an FBI agent who goes undercover with a group of white supremacists, in order to thwart any potential terrorist plans. I wanted to watch this right then because I wanted to understand the other side.
Generally speaking, I try to keep politics off my blog, and really I try to limit my political discussions to myself and YouTube clips. Like religion, I have my beliefs and you have yours, and it’s all cool. I’m happy to tell you what I think and listen to what you do, but I will only do so if prompted, and I won’t try to change your mind and respectfully ask that you do the same. But Tuesdays’ results left me terrified on several levels. Yes I’m worried a bout various policy changes being rolled back and about the economy and other concerns. But what freaks me out the most is how a campaign rooted in so much hatred and fear took hold of this country and what that means for our future. That’s what I can’t wrap my head around still, and I felt this film would offer a unique opportunity into the more extreme of those mindsets.
And it did. Where some of us see the spirit of inclusion and the blending of cultures as a good and progressive thing, there are people out there who mourn for the loss of their culture and values in the process. They see their way of life as dying out. That’s something I hadn’t been sensitive to. Now obviously their extreme ways of combating this aren’t anything I remotely agree with, but I can see where their desperation is coming from. And I sincerely hope that some common ground can be found before we tear each other apart.
But this is a movie blog, so let’s get back to talking about the movie itself. Of course the easy film of comparison would be American History X, which is an infinitely better film (it’s gonna be tough to ever top that one on this subject), but other than the spotlight on white supremacy, the two are incredibly different. That film gives us the perspective of an insider looking out, whereas Imperium shows us an outsider looking in. Not to mention the completely different motives of our protagonists.
In most respects, Imperium really was your typical undercover agent film, beat by beat. It was the unique setting and details of the story that made it interesting. As a huge fan of Danielle Radcliffe, I was also just curious to see him take something on drastically different from anything he’s done. That seems to be his MO, how far away from his previous roles can he go. Of course he killed it, and I would like to see him tap into this level of intensity again.
Undoubtedly this film will be streaming at some point soon, as is usually the case nowadays with these smaller films. If anything explained in the previous paragraph piques your interest, it’s worth checking out, but I’m not expecting it to make much of a mark on the industry.”