Movie Review: The Chameleon (2010)



In the title sequence, FBI agents were at the alleged crime scene of Nicholas Mark Randall’s(Marc-André Grondin– Quèbec’s C.R.A.Z.Y. (2005)) murder in Bayou, Louisiana, they were trying to recover the remains of the deceased, if any. A flashback to six years ago, a teen lying on an overpass bridge in fetal position somewhere in France. He claimed to be Nicholas, kidnapped by French extremists group, and was later reunited with his sister, Kathy Jansen(Emilie de Ravin) and brother-in-law, Brian Jansen(Brian Geraghty). They went back to Louisiana to meet their mom, Kimberly Miller(Ellen Barkin).

Mystical Louisiana was the right place for this story. It provided the eerie and mysterious nature of the story. The lower social economic community also elevated the ambiguity of the situation between the family and their recovered son and brother, Nicholas. The skeptic of the whole situation was FBI agent, Jennfier Johnson (Famke Janssen). Her claim was that if a lost child couldn’t be found within 48 hours, the probability of finding them would drop to zero. So how was Nicholas case special? (However, in 2013, we have now many solved kidnapped cases to prove her theory wrong). Anyway, she was stubborn enough to keep probing who Nicholas really was, while his family denied every shred of her reasoning. Why were they so absolutely sure?! The eldest brother, Brendan(Nick StahlTerminator 3), however, had a different opinion about his little brother, because he remembered how they were, and what they had done together, and what he did to him when young. He also started to question.

Barkin was almost unrecognizable here as the mom, and put out an amazing performance. The slow re-bonding with her son was quite endearing to say the least. Grondin used his french accent appropriately, and did convince me to believe in Nichey. The premise of the film was bordering on reasonable doubt, so you would be watching this if you were a selected jury. The ending offered no surprises, but only some answers. More importantly, what did they find in the shallow swamp in Bayou?!


P.S. Based on the life of Frédéric Bourdin, who impersonated multiple kidnapped teens. In this case, he was renamed as Frédéric Fortin.


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