Written by Tony Dean Smith, Ryan W Smith
Directed by Tony Dean Smith
VOLITION throws you into the nightmare world of James. His gift of clairvoyance is more of a curse given he discovered his magic powers when he had a vision of his mother’s death and did nothing about it - that’s naturally led to a lifetime of regret. He’s cooped up in his apartment, one wall, inexplicably covered in notes and reminders like Guy Pierce’s body in MEMENTO. He’s late with his rent and his landlord is busting his balls for the money. His way of making money is to use his special skills to help a small time gangster mitigate risks through James’s visions of the caper in the future. Problem is, this time James doesn’t envisage evading the law when fencing a pouch of diamonds, he witnesses his own death.
Free will to live his life just got compromised with knowing his own fate. This sends James off on a manic journey of trying to find the fork in the road where he can go a different way and not die. His pursuit of a new future is complicated by the threat of a pair of thugs who want to steal the diamonds from him and their paranoid boss who presumes James is robbing the valuable swag. On this surface information, VOLITION, plays out like a Dashiel Hammett novel and James proves himself to be a hardboiled punching bag that never knows he’s beat. One particular scuffle sees him find an unlikely ally in the shape of Angela. She’s new in town, but there’s a sense of déjà vu when they first meet.
Tony Dean Smith expertly keeps many story plates spinning...
The problem of his imminent death continues to hang heavy so the pair of them escape town and seek solace in Elliot, the professor who knows about James’s unique affliction. From here time and space become relative as the treatment Elliot administers shifts reality so that James gets to repeat recent past events. It quickly mushrooms into a complicated series of butterfly effects that tweak and alter the past, present and future. The mania spewed onto the wall begins to mean something. His apartment, especially the design of it, becomes a metaphor for his dilemma.
The urgent knocks on the door are like the past catching up with him – so there’s no going back. The only future he can have is out the back of his home and onto the roof, but that represents the unknown path to his demise. Tony Dean Smith expertly keeps many story plates spinning in order to combine the pace of the crime thriller in progress with the sci-fi mystery VOLITION reveals itself to be. When the fragmented pieces of truth he’s given you begin to fit together the cerebral slight of hand of the Smith brothers script come into their own a la COHERENCE or THE INVITATION. You’ll feel smarter for the experience of watching it.