Review: An Impossible Project

Written and directed by Jens Meurer, co-written by Franziska Kramer, following the revenge of analogue and the eccentric, crazy Austrian scientist, who saved the world’s last Polaroid factory – just when Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone. Starring: Florian Kaps, Oskar Smolokowski, David C. Bohnett, Christopher Bonanos and Anna Kaps.

The initial premise of this film is a solid one, there has undoubtedly been a growing appreciation for analogue in recent years, especially vinyl and instant cameras. An Impossible Project does explore that, it goes down a number of different avenues, including printing and even a butcher’s shop but at a certain point it starts to feel unfocused. It begins much more strongly following Florian Kaps’s journey after purchasing the factory but around the half-way point, it starts to jump around from point to point so much that it entirely loses view of the destination it’s reaching for. Especially when it begins its interaction with Facebook, it seems to be aiming for more of a philosophical or evolutionary point of how society can integrate analogue back into people’s lives to ease the technological burden or obsession. This is a very difficult thing to tackle towards the end of a film, it ideally needed to either be introduced more clearly and strongly earlier on, or take a much larger focus throughout.

However, it’s not the main difficulty that this film has, the key issue is that it wants to be an underdog story but that’s not at all what it is. The impression is more along the lines of eccentricity and privileged passions, it’s having the time and means to make something happen, which people don’t necessarily have an essential need for. There’s a slight pretention to the way it presents itself, it’s not particularly relatable or accessible, exploring a man who takes on a project with little to no chance of success or financial return, your average person would never be in a position to consider such a thing in their lifetime. It’s a very specific journey built out of a niche passion that brings a fairly singular perspective.

It’s not entirely aided by the style, it’s somewhat dry and lacks a bigger energy or charisma to keep your attention. The movements and progression of it are indulgent, shots going on for much longer than needed and restricting it from having a tangible momentum. There’s a slow, serene tone to its sound which feels very appropriate to begin with but wanes as time goes on. It attempts to strike quite a casual note at times but then it’s also extremely constructed which stops its more jovial moments from feeling sincere.

An Impossible Project feels like someone trying to say, ‘I was right’ and to a certain extent, he was right and analogue made a return but it doesn’t come across like a good enough reason to spend 99-minutes on. For a film which is filled with passion, that energy doesn’t permeate the final product and it moves at a slow, overly self-assured and indulgent pace which struggles to hold your attention. It will hold a certain charm for anyone who’s displeased with society’s technological obsession but this isn’t a film for your average viewer.

Verdict: ✯✯

Available on VOD now

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