Film (2001). Dimension Films presents a Marty Katz production in association with Mojo Films. Directed by Gary Fleder. Adaptation by Scott Rosenberg, based on "Imposter" (June 1953 Astounding) by Philip K Dick; screenplay by Caroline Case and Ehren Kruger and David Twohy. Cast includes Vincent d'Onofrio, Mekhi Phifer, Tony Shalhoub, Gary Sinise and Madeleine Stowe. Original short version (without credits) 37 minutes; theatrical version 95 minutes; Director's Cut 102 minutes.
A Weapons Scientist (Sinise) is informed that he is an Android bomb implanted with the original scientist's memories, and goes on the run to prove his own humanity.
The credits of this unwieldy film articulate its curious genesis in a short film, scripted by Rosenberg, which was intended as a segment of a three-part anthology film alongside Danny Boyle's unreleased Alien Love Triangle and an unfilmed third segment variously earmarked for Guillermo Del Toro, whose film was made instead as the full-length Mimic (1997), and for Bryan Singer, whose commitments to X2 (2003) (see X-Men Films) prevented his participation. The portmanteau project was cancelled, Boyle's completed segment discarded, and Impostor laboriously expanded to feature length over a two-year period by a series of writers who developed new material around the existing footage. The version eventually filmed preserves the first act and the closing minutes very much as originally shot, but pads them with a lipoinjected extended chase sequence – the first appearance of this default mode in the expansion of Dick's early stories to feature length, soon to be seen again in Minority Report (2002), Paycheck (2003), Next (2007), and The Adjustment Bureau (2010) – partnering Sinise's fugitive with the new character of an underground medical worker (Phifer), with a coda offering a more feature-friendly counterbalance to the rapidly sprung double twist which served as the short version's climactic tail-sting. The short version, included with DVD releases of the longer Director's Cut version, is tight and effective, following Dick's story very closely, even down to such supererogatory elements as the protective city-domes, with the only significant embellishment a neatly designed additional false ending; but its forcible expansion proved an expensive box-office failure, the long middle-act detour allowing audiences inopportune leisure to project and anticipate more adventurous payoff twists than those eventually delivered. [NL]
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