Imperium: The Daniel Radcliffe Movie Everyone Missed
Spoilers & Plot Summary Ahead
Few movies these days are able to make me squirm as much as Imperium did. If you read our previous article about Daniel Radcliffe you're aware of how far this actor has come since his Harry Potter days. I know it's been several years since his final, on screen duel with You Know Who but it's hard to see him in different rolls like "The Woman In Black" and not see the boy who lived under the stairs. Imperium shines a whole new light on Daniel's acting prowess and his willingness and ability to fully immerse himself in his characters.
Imperium is a movie written and directed by Daniel Ragussis, from a story by Michael German. The film stars Daniel Radcliffe, Toni Collette, Tracy Letts, Nestor Carbonell, and Sam Trammell. Daniel plays Nate Foster, an FBI agent who grows tired of his mundane office assignments helping track terrorists. Once some illegally imported caesium-137 is stolen, Nate is recruited by agent Angela Zamparo (Toni Collete,) who suspects the involvement of white supremacist groups. She convinces Nate to give up his identity and go deep undercover infiltrating white supremacist groups in the hopes to locate the stolen chemicals and stop a devastating terror attack. At first Nate is picked up by a small time gang who is led by a man who is well connected to some bigger, more organized groups.
Nate's main target is a Conservative talk show radio host who shares surprisingly similar traits with Alex Jones from Info Wars. He knows that by getting in with this man he'll have access to the entire network of white supremacist super cells. Throughout the movie Nate works his way up the ladder by continually proving himself to be an asset to these groups. His knowledge of military tactics, weapons, military strategy, weaponized chemicals, as well as a charming personality and due diligence make him a desirable member. Eventually Nate becomes somewhat of a military advisor to a crude Militia and learns that they have acquired plans to poison the local water supply. This raises flags with the FBI but ultimately turns out to be an empty threat and more of a scare tactic.
At this point Nate has played most of his hand and has aroused suspicions with some of the local leaders. One day his Geiger counter goes wild while in the mansion of Gerry Conway (played by Sam Trammell.) Gerry is a wealthy, high society type who is less of a soldier and more of a financier for the cause. Nate realizes that this is where the real threat lies and that it could very well be his last chance to find the stolen chemical weapons. He speaks with Gerry and convinces him that he's willing to die for the cause if he'll let him help. Gerry agrees when Nate tells him he knows how to get the rest of the chemicals for the bomb. Using his ties with the FBI he sets up a false chemical supply company and uses the front to set a trap. In the end he is able to arrange a raid with the FBI and foils the creation of the dirty bomb, saving thousands of lives.
That's a pretty rough summary of this insanely emotional story and most of the cringe and terror is felt in the performances so it's hard to convey the precise feeling of anxiety this movie delivers. The movie is reminiscent of American History X and should be approached with the same open mindedness. From White Supremacist pride parades, attacks on inter racial couples, house wives baking Swastika cookies, hate speech, and complete disregard for human life, this isn't really a great pick for a family movie night. But if you're interested in an in depth look into the human side of white supremacists, neo nazis, and KKK members, this a great choice. The way the script, the direction and the characters come together almost makes you feel for these terrorists and their struggle to purify the other races. Not a fun feeling. I'd recommend watching this one with your partner or a good friend and plan on having a lighthearted comedy at the ready for when Imperium ends and you can't stop staring off into the distance whispering... "what the fuck just happened"... under your breath.