‘You mean like deja-vu?’

‘No, it’s more fragments than that. I see pieces. When they happen they happen – but they always come true…’

Can we outrun our fate? Is it possible to change our futures for the better – or if we had knowledge of what is coming is it still best to leave well alone?

That’s the central strand of Volition, a film that starts out as what appears akin to a ‘straightforward’ premonition flick before veering into time travel and endless twists and turns.

Energetic, thrilling, clever and with a plot that keeps you on your toes, director Tony Dean Smith’s offering does the remarkable job of taking some well-worn themes (there’s stuff like Memento or even The Butterfly Effect that will come to mind) and spinning it into something fresh.

The central figure here is James (Adrian Glynn McMorran), living in an apartment above a garage and happy to scrape an existence thanks to his ‘gift’ – the ability to see elements of the future. This gift is laced with tragedy though, as James even had visions of his mother dying in a car crash when he was just a boy – but did nothing to save her.

So, instead of going on a ‘Biff Tannen-esque’ quest to rule the world, James uses his ability to predict the outcome of boxing bouts to fleece bar owners and pay his rent.

That all changes though, when after breaking up an assault on a woman in a back street, James is then thrown into the world of multi-million diamond deals and high stakes via textile owner Ray (John Cassini), who is all too aware of James’ special skills.

Wouldn’t you know though, no sooner has James agreed to get involved, he begins to get visions again – dark visions that suggest something is to go horribly, bloodily wrong…

Volition is remarkably scripted by director Smith (along with Ryan Smith), with certain scenes played on a loop from the perspective of different characters, all linking together to give you the ‘full picture’. It is also very intelligent, with numerous throwaway moments taking on significance when retold.

Director Smith gives us a tale that can be taken on a number of levels – if you want to sit back with a beer and take in the spectacle you can, but if you fancy giving the old brain cells a workout, well Volition fits the bill too.

The performances also help tremendously – at first James seems quite a dislikeable lowlife, but McMorran does such a good job that you end up warming to him, rooting for him and eager for him to ‘escape’.

His relationship with Amanda is key to this and Magda Apanowicz is equally good in her role, a real chemistry between the pair blowing away any misgivings you may have as to why someone would willingly mix themselves up in this mess.

Further strong work comes from Cassini as Ray and Bill Marchant as James’ foster father Elliot, who may have the key to unlock the mystery.

Volition comes highly recommended from this reviewer – it’s a gripping, fast-paced, intelligent slice of sci-fi that barely pauses for breath over its 90-minute runtime.

File this one in the folder ‘pleasant surprise’.

Available from July 10th on Apple TV, Prime Video & other digital platforms

Movie Review: Volition
4.0Overall Score
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About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written three books - on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014), the history of the character Norman Bates (2015) and the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker (2017). He is currently working with director Richard Loncraine to explore all avenues in a bid to orchestrate the re-release of 1978 Mia Farrow chiller Full Circle