‘Impact50’ is a film that makes you feel, review by Alison Clapham

The Impact50 movie is a triumph of vision and team spirit.

From Joe Eszterhas’s opening scenario, through an anthology of people’s lives in their collective final minutes, finishing with the inevitability of the apocalypse, Impact50 certainly makes an impact on the emotions.

Setting new world records for the most screenwriters and most directors on a feature, perhaps one of the film’s most incredible achievements is the way in which independent productions with different crew, equipment, and artistic perspectives have been successfully combined to create a cohesive narrative and an epic movie overall.

Fragments of lives are interwoven to reveal a diverse and complex picture of human reactions to the immediacy of a global apocalypse. The scripts were written and shot before anyone had heard of COVID-19—and yet, Impact50 describes a similar range of emotions, motivations, and actions to those we’ve witnessed during the recent pandemic.

Responses to a presidential announcement about impending doom range from disbelief and support of conspiracy theories, to resigned acceptance and a desire to make the most out of every single moment of life that remains. And, of course, there are also those who are oblivious of the news, because not everyone is in constant contact with the outside world.

Decisions must be taken with an even greater urgency than in Adam McKay’s recent acclaimed satirical movie Don’t Look Up, because the timeframe for action in Impact50 is not months, but less than two hours. This means Impact50 doesn’t need to consider how the planet might avoid an asteroid strike—by the time humanity is aware of the danger, it’s already too late. It’s less about how we survive, than how we live.

There are poignant moments with parents wanting, maybe needing, to protect their children from the horror of what is to come. But there’s also the reverse, with children making the choice to protect vulnerable parents from the truth. Because they love them.

We see people who are alone—through life choices, death of a loved one, or an unplanned situation on the day—alongside those who will share their final minutes with others, whether loved ones or those who just happen to be there at that time. We are drawn in to feel their anguish and their anticipation of what might come next. And we’re shown how some ultimately make peace with themselves, and even come to embrace solitude or the end-of-the-world experience they are to share with others.

Watching Impact50 released a whole gamut of emotions, from goosebumps and tears, to cries of “no, don’t do it!”, to smiles and even the occasional laugh out loud moment. It’s a rollercoaster of a film. But while there are moments of revenge and regret, the overriding message is about love and what it means to be human.

This is a film that makes you feel. Like a workout for the emotions, it exercises different feelings, one by one. Even though it’s about the end of the world, Impact50 is life-affirming, and you come away with a sense of the importance of protecting our wonderful planet and everything we love. In my view – definitely worth watching!

Alison Clapham is writer and co-producer of ‘And Then There Were Two’ (Impact50).

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