Imperium felt similar beforehand to the plot of Reece Dinsdale’s ID, which recently saw a sequel starring Doctors‘ Simon Rivers, ID2: Shadwell Army, but is based on the experience of undercover FBI agent Michael German and centres around Nate Foster (Daniel Radcliffe) starting off his first stint in this world by ingratiating himself amongst a gang of Neo-Nazis. You’d think they’d warm him up, initially, with something a little less demanding.
But throwing him in at the deep end, eight containers of caesium have gone missing, and it’s a radioactive explosives, which people like this would use to create a dirty bomb. A parallel is drawn with Oklahoma city bomber Timothy McVeigh whose actions in 1995 results in the deaths of 168 people including 19 children, plus many hundreds of injured, who was re-encting a scene from The Turner Diaries, trying to start a race war. Amidst all this is Dallas Wolf (Tracy Letts), a shock jock a la Alex Jones, albeit more of a racist nutter who proclaims “Diversity = white genocide” and looks to be taking things much, much further. Add in Gerry (Sam Trammell), a family man who indoctrinates the case into his children, and it’s all heading for one hell of a situation.
Meanwhile, Nate’s colleague, Angela Zamparo (Toni Collette), has an informant who is a skinhead in a gang, who’s friends with Dallas Wolf, so that’ll be his ‘in’.
What follows is certainly a gripping movie as Radcliffe couldn’t have left the world of Harry Potter* any further behind than he did with this, and it’d be interesting to see the same character go undercover in a different situation in a follow-up movie. Sure, Michael German’s story just applied to this movie, but with the lead proving himself to be an incredible actor, this is something I’d love to see.
(*and I’ve still to see any of those films, even though I did enjoy the recent Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them)
The film is presented in the original 2.35:1 widescreen theatrical ratio and is in 1080p high definition, and is a cracking picture as you’d expect for a modern film, with no issues whatsoever, as Nate goes from A to B to C, and so on, in his quest to find out just what makes these oddballs tick.
The sound is in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and there’s a handful of slight sounds coming out of the rear speakers, but most of the time you won’t notice. Okay, so it’s not a special FX film, but just don’t expect anything much in that department.
There are just two extras – Living Undercover (3:35), where Daniel Radcliffe talks about getting into the Neo-Nazi world that was based on Michael German’s experience, and he’s also on hand to tell his story…. briefly. The other is Making Imperium (18:33), a longer featurette that mixes chat from several key chat and crew with clips from the film, doing little more than turning soundbites into a narrative, as if one story’s being told by many… in fact, it sounds like they’ve been told to say one line each, and then the studio splices the footage together. It’s clearly the sort of filler made for movie channels to slot in inbetween their films, so don’t expect anything too in-depth.
As with Momentum, released in January, there’s a woeful amount of chapters. Most studios try to stiff us on a mere 12 throughout a film’s running time. With this one, we get SIX!!!
Similiarly, the menu is static and silent, and there’s no subtitles.
Running time: 109 minutes
Studio: Signature Entertainment
Released: November 7th 2016
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Disc Format: BD25
Director: Daniel Ragussis
Producers: Dennis Lee, Daniel Ragussis, Simon Taufique and Ty Walker
Screenplay: Daniel Ragussis (based on the story by Michael German)
Music: Will Bates
Nate Foster: Daniel Radcliffe
Angela Zamparo: Toni Collette
Dallas Wolf: Tracy Letts
Gerry Conway: Sam Trammell
Tom Hernandez: Nestor Carbonell
Andrew Blackwell: Chris Sullivan
Roy: Seth Numrich
Vince Sargent: Pawel Szajda
Johnny: Devin Druid
Morgan: Burn Gorman
Frank Hedges: Adam Meier
Usman: Roger Yawson
David: Linc Hand
Becky: Vanessa Ore
Billy: Jasson Finney
Ernest Walton: David Aranovich
Gary: Paul Chapman
Rick: David Meadows
Abdul: Maboud Ebrahimzadeh
Fariq: Asif Khan
Madeline: Cora Metzfield
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.