It's not so much a major plot twist - though it's intended to be one - as the confirmation of the audience already has suspicions about. The film's focus turns from subject to observer and questions are raised about our collective societal fascination with serial killers (both Hannibal Lecter and Patrick Bateman are namechecked by one interviewee or another) and more concretely the treatment that Bergwall/Quick underwent at Säter. Are the details of Quick's re-enactments slightly askew from the reality of the murders because he is struggling to access repressed memories, or because he was never there? It's an area that receives limited exploration and regrettably suffers from the refusal of any of Bergwall's doctors to be involved in the conversation. After the icy build-up and Hill's exacting handling of the disconcerting atmosphere, the balloon bursts with little reward.
Conversations with Bergwall's estranged brother lack the emotional heft that the content should have, and an opportunity is perhaps missed to re-examine previous re-enactments with the twist of a fresh perspective. There is much good done in toying with cinematic tropes for effect, but ultimately the stylistic flourishes don't quite implicate the viewer in the same way as Bart Layton intended with The Imposter (2012). Instead, the story condemns Säter's treatment of their prized asset, but winds down in a strange inertia after a riveting opening hour. It might mean that fans of the likes of smash-hit podcast Serial or TV's The Jinx leave feeling a little undeserved, but The Confessions of Thomas Quick remains a fascinating portrait of a troubled man and true-crime case file.
Ben Nicholson | @BRNicholson