From Lionsgate and director Daniel Ragussis comes the Neo-Nazi thriller based on true events – Imperium. Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Chris Sullivan, Toni Collette, Tracy Letts, Nestor Carbonell, Burn Gorman and Sam Trammell, the film hits theaters and On Demand August 19, 2016.
Nate Foster (Daniel Radcliffe), a young, idealistic FBI agent, goes undercover to take down a radical right-wing terrorist group. The bright up-and-coming analyst must confront the challenge of sticking to a new identity while maintaining his real principles as he navigates the dangerous underworld of white supremacy.
New filmmaker Daniel Ragussis has done a tremendous job taking audiences on a ride through the dark and unsettling world of racist fanatics. As the film Imperium starts off, we see FBI agent Nate Foster finish up a case where a Muslim was essentially entrapped into a situation which led to his arrest. It all seemed a little too convenient and ‘wrong’, considering the amount of work the feds put into luring this man into a situation just to meet their terror arrest quota. Another seasoned case worker played by Toni Collette pushes Daniel Radcliffe’s Nate Foster in a different direction, exploring radical terrorists born and bred on US soil – more specifically Neo-Nazi fanatics.
It’s compelling because we see this FBI agent, who has tremendous people skills, but little on-field experience, dive into the most intense and dangerous mission of his entire life. Foster integrates himself into a group of Neo Nazi gangmembers to try and uncover a potential plot that involves some stolen chemicals that can be used to make a massive bomb. Ragussis takes us on a harrowing journey through the world of Neo Nazis in America and it’s probably the most eye-opening movie experience of it’s kind since American History X (which is one of my favorite films of all time).
If you’re feeling curious just to see Harry Potter shouting white power and wearing Swastika gear, you’ll get that in droves. But most importantly, you’ll be taking a trip through the darker side of The United States (yes this happens – a lot sadly). Oddly enough the timing of Imperium couldn’t be better with all of the “Make America Great Again” extremist rhetoric that is engulfing the more frightening aspects of redneck culture in that country. You’ll even bear witness to a wedding which features both Swastika and cross burning deco, as well as my personal favorite – cupcakes complete with Swastika frosting! Delicious racism.
Radcliffe is incredible in Imperium but I’d like to take a moment and single out Chris Sullivan, who plays the leader of a more extreme faction in the Neo Nazi gangs that we uncover in the film. Sullivan is one of my favorite performers and his work on TV’s The Knick is truly wonderful. His his role as the frightening Andrew Blackwell is so intimidating, so effective — that I can’t wait to see his villain in the upcoming Guardians of The Galaxy 2 (he’s damn good at playing bad).
Sullivan is just the best and that scene in the car with Radcliffe talking about infiltrators is probably the most intense and brilliant sequence of the entire movie. True Blood’s Sam Trammell also puts in a moving performance as yet another white power supporter and through his scenes we bear witness to the more “quiet” side of this movement (Skinhead BBQ’s, classical music accompanied by Tea).
Imperium is a tough watch if you’re easily put off by large strings of uncomfortable dialogue engulfed with racial slurs, but it’s an important one that you should check out anyway. The movie works as a straight-forward thriller, and it’s based on true events which I appreciate, but that skinhead culture is one I find truly enthralling… This kind of stuff is still strong in 2016 and that stuns me, it really does. Imperium is clever, thought-provoking and extremely relevant right now with the deplorable redneck resurgence happening in America today… Watch it.