Tony Dean Smith's Volition is a mind-bending sci-fi thriller that's part The Butterfly Effect and part Time Crimes. Its ability to intertwine multiple timelines without losing grasp on the overall story at large is impressive, making for next-level sci-fi for those unafraid to venture deeper down the rabbit hole.
Tony Dean Smith‘s Volition is a time-traveling sci-fi thriller that’s unafraid to challenge its viewers and blow their minds in the process, carefully blending intricate details with an overall story that’s part The Butterfly Effect and part Time Crimes as it folds time and space together to create a film that’s full of suspense, drama and a unique look at fate and just how much control we have over it, if any?
Jimmy (Adrian Glynn McMorran) lives an interesting life, one that allows for him to see fragments of his troubled future. Sometimes these visions come from him touching something or someone, while other times they creep into the back of his brain out of nowhere. This is both a gift and a curse, because while it allows him to peak behind the curtain on the future, it also reminds him that some things just aren’t meant to be changed.
This has caused him lots of pain and trauma over the years, more specifically failing to prevent the death of his mother in a car accident when he was just a kid. But more recently, it has allowed him the opportunity to land $100k by helping a shady character unload some uncut diamonds within the next few days.
This leads Jimmy down a mind-bending path as he attempts to merge multiple points in time together in hopes of getting the results that he so desperately wants. Some things are meant to be, while others propose the illusion of possible change.
Jimmy’s grasp on reality becomes fuzzy as he uses these visions to change the things that matter the most in his life.
Let me just start right off the bat by saying that Volition is an absolute show-stopper of a film, tackling such a great concept through a well-written script that pays so much attention to detail, yet never forgets to keep the audience entertained and surrounded by mystery. Volition‘s trailer painted a cool-looking sci-fi flick, but the actual end result is a labor of time-traveling love, taking you deeper down the rabbit hole almost every ten minutes.
I’ll leave this review spoiler-free by simply saying that the trailer only scratches at the surface and that Tony Dean Smith‘s Volition is a complete mind-altering experience that feels a lot like The Butterfly Effect, Time Crimes, Triangle and even Inception in its overall execution.
I can’t imagine what Tony Dean Smith could’ve done with a sizable budget, because Volition is such an efficient thriller, wasting not a single penny on something that doesn’t further the production value.
The script was penned by Tony Dean Smith and Ryan W. Smith and features various genre tropes that have been played out (and maybe to some degrees better), yet I couldn’t keep myself from trying to guess what was going to come next. They take the film to levels that I wouldn’t have imagined and they successfully manage to bring things together for a conclusion that’s surely predictable, but oh so rewarding when it’s all said and done.
The acting is good. Not great, but good. And I guess you could say that’s the weakest part, but I would feel bad discrediting Adrian Glynn McMorran‘s performance, because it’s serviceable to the plot and provides you with a likable, yet conflicted lead. Likewise for Magda Apanowicz. She plays the film’s leading lady and love interest of Jimmy, with not a whole lot of backstory, but again, enough likability to make her character’s overall effectiveness work.
The shady thugs chasing down both characters are the most predictable and generic villains of any film and this might be where I call the acting slightly weak, but nothing really overshadows the overall effectiveness of the film.
This movie is full of surprises and wild turns that all add up to a fitting and worthwhile conclusion that I honestly didn’t think was possible of being pulled off as smooth and as clean as it did, yet director Tony Dean Smith manages to bring it all together.
Volition is yet again one of those random VOD movies that I decided to take a chance on and I am so glad that I did. At the time of writing, the film was only $4.99 to rent or $12.99 to purchase (in 4K) and I would honestly hold this film up against those other sci-fi time-traveling flicks that I mentioned up above, despite this film being made for probably a fraction of the cost and with a ton of no-name stars that I hope go on to do even better things.
Volition is the perfect slice of mind-bending sci-fi that fans of time-travel are going to want to check out soon. The trailer is admittedly rough, but the actual film is as sharp as can be, tackling genre tropes with familiarity, yet unafraid to push the sub-genre further in its attempt at commenting on the concept of fate and if it’s in our control or far beyond our reach. It’s a film that will hit heavy if you let it sink in or pass right on by if you ingest it as a thriller with big ideas.
I love these kinds of movies and I strongly suggest you give this one a go.