A masterful liar and a cunning sociopath, Mark Acklom thrived as a thieving conman for over 30 years. As he traveled across Europe, he would charm and defraud countless strangers and even members of his own family. The engrossing documentary Conman: The Life and Crimes of Mark Acklom examines the tools of his deception, and the shattered lives of the victims he left in his wake.
Acklom's descent into crime began early. Boarding school failed to tame his misbehaving ways. He perverted his obvious smarts to empower a profitable life of swindling. In her first television interview, his mother Diana speaks of the early signs of psychological distress, and her repeated attempts to curb his path of criminality. After being released from a prison sentence as a young man, he became savvier and more elusive when it came to avoiding the scrutiny of law enforcement.
His victims likely number in the hundreds. Under a cloak of respectability and a series of aliases, he would charm unsuspecting individuals. At the conclusion of each con, many of his victims were left penniless, homeless and abandoned by their spouses.
His powers of seduction were palpable. Carolyn Woods understands this all too well. During the film, she speaks of her blooming relationship with Acklom, his sophisticated and alluring courting techniques, and how she eventually feel deeply in love with him. His pull was so strong that she believed all of his lies without question, and eventually gave him all of her savings based on an intricate lie he concocted regarding real estate holdings.
Conman: The Life and Crimes of Mark Acklom isn't a typical, passive recap of a true crime story. Sky News crime reporter Martin Brunt is actually a driving influence on the narrative as he works to track down Acklom's whereabouts and put a stop to his reign of devastation. It's a cat and mouse chase that ensues for more than four years. Along the way, the filmmakers uncover a path of interlinked clues and increasingly outlandish cons against individuals, business and institutions. It's a compelling and thrilling journey right up to its surprising conclusion.