“They say when you die, your whole life flashes before your eyes,” James says in the opening minutes of the movie. “I wish it were that simple.” It’s a signal of sorts to the viewer that nothing in the next ninety minutes is going to be simple or follow the accepted rules.
James, a clairvoyant, makes his money using his insight into the future and doing odd jobs for local crime outfits. On one such job, involving a load of stolen diamonds and a gangster named
Ray (John Cassini), James intuits a bad end for the caper and himself. With the help of a stranger, Angela (Magda Apanowicz), he tries to find a path to alter the future and his fate.
“Volition” is a mix-and-match of speculative fiction and neo-noir crime drama. Driven by ideas rather than special effects, it favors intellect over action, philosophy over fisticuffs. There are tense scenes and gun play but, like movies such as “Looper” or “Next,” it uses time as an ever fluctuating, nonlinear construct. The bending of the sequence of time makes for some heady filmmaking but the story never allows itself to get lost amid the twists and turns. Director Tony Dean Smith, who co-wrote the script with brother Ryan W. Smith, teases out the thrills and the head-scratching in equal measure, making for a film made up of fragments, to come together to form one fascinating mosaic.