Volition Movie Review

Everyone laments the dearth of new and original cinematic content: everything is a sequel, adaptation, or a latest installment that keeps an eternal franchise under copyright. "Volition," the directorial debut of Tony Dean Smith, takes a solid swing at giving us the original content we crave. There are no superheroes, no characters from a beloved children's book series-just James, (Adrian Glynn McMorrant, "The Revenant") trying to make good on a chance encounter with Angela (Magda Apanowicz, You). Never mind that this meeting sets off a layered narrative transcending time, exploring clairvoyance, and testing notions of fate.

When we meet him, our protagonist comes off as a seedy guy; late on rent, always hustling for a buck, unkempt, and probably reeking of booze and old cigarettes. But as we get to know James, we learn that he's just really down on his luck. A life of torment stemming from being able to see the future-but not prevent your mom from dying-will do that to a guy. Though he swears that he doesn't cheat at gambling using his fore-knowledge (although I couldn't help but think he'll never become Biff Tannen, the luckiest man on Earth with that lack of ambition), James DEFINITELY has a past that involves the local criminal underworld. Soon after his introduction to Angela, those criminal pals turn up and rope him in for that proverbial "last great score." It's not hard to guess how things go once the illicit goods (diamonds, a screenwriter favorite!) make an appearance. A chase ensues, which gives James (and the audience) fresh insight into his own past, present, and future.
Without spilling any key plot details, "Volition's" narrative structure turns over on itself in interesting ways. Ultimately, it tells a spare and self-contained story of pre-destination that's worth watching-albeit still rough around a few edges. Audiences jump right into James' life, his backstory unfolding as we go along. In some cases, possibly interesting aspects of his background are not explored enough, such as his past criminal dealings.

Occasionally "Volition" falls into the exposition trap, using it to introduce the more fine-grained details of its plot device MacGuffin. This starts to happen when the more science-fiction-heavy elements appear at the film's midpoint, and Smith offsets this by kicking the plot into a stakes-driven high gear. While this variable pacing lends tension to the film, there are times where it ends up just a bit uneven, and the ending feels too abrupt. It is also worth commenting that the narrative MacGuffin driving the back half of story is a bit eyebrow raising, but it wasn't overly distracting for me.

"Volition" features a small ensemble cast, with well-matched actors and performances. Leads McMorrant and Apanowicz, have enjoyable chemistry with each other, despite character circumstances that don't lend themselves to a traditional onscreen relationship. Frank Cassini (Blackstone) as Sal and Aleks Paunovic (Snowpiercer) as Terry project menace from their first frame and serve effectively as the heavies driving James towards his fate. Rounding out the cast are John Cassini ("A Dog's Way Home") as Ray, the architect of that last big score, and Bill Marchant ("Chappie") as Elliot, James's foster father. These actors are firmly in "where do I know them from??" territory, but everyone does a perfectly fine job with their material.

The one area of "Volition" that I struggled with was sound mixing and scoring. Matthew Roger's score is quite effective in setting and supporting the mood of the film, but there are a few moments where it wanders a bit into Hans Zimmer territory: thundering musical notes overwhelming all other sound. To be fair, this also amused me, given the Christopher Nolan vibes I got from "Volition." This movie lives in intimate dialogue; having to toggle on the closed captioning because the sound mix was making it hard to discern that dialogue was unfortunate.

Ultimately, "Volition" is a decent film that's not quite great. Yes, it will scratch that itch for original content, but it does borrow HEAVILY on themes and ideas that have been executed in other films. For example, there are definitely some moments where it feels like "the darkest timeline" version of "Back to the Future." But it is well put together, with effective mood and tone, and actors who deliver solid performances. I suspect it will be satisfying for those who enjoy pulpy, gritty sci-fi, and for anyone on the lookout for a decent thriller.

"Volition" is available starting July 10 on Apple TV, Prime Video, and other digital platforms.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Volition Movie Review Volition Movie Review Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Sunday, July 12, 2020 Rating:


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