It takes a while to catch on to the exact premise of this time-scrambling movie, but its plot is compelling enough to make it worthwhile.
James (Adrian Glynn McMorran), a hollow-eyed apparent deadbeat, has an unpredictable psychic talent which gives him flashes of the future – which he believes is still unavoidable. He hustles sports bets to sustain himself, but if he sees a beating in his future he has no choice but to put up with it, which explains why he’s such a fatalist and has never put anything like a life together. Goons Sal (Frank Cassini) and Terry (Aleks Paunovic) drag him to low-rent godfather Ray (John Cassini – who’s also in True Fiction), who hires him to make sure a deal involving illicit diamonds goes as planned, but – of course – the whole thing goes sideways thanks to betrayals, and his unpredictable talent just makes him more confused as he winds up on the run with semi-girlfriend Angela (Magda Apanowicz), certain that one of them will be shot dead, and heading home to consult his foster father Elliot (Bill Marchant), a scientist who has tried to understand James’ condition and has developed an unusual method of tinkering with the story outcomes.
Yes, director Tony Dean Smith – who co-wrote with Ryan W. Smith – dares that Day of the Triffids trick of building a science fiction story around two fantastical premises, though it turns out there are actual connections between James’ precognition and his mid-film venture into another field of mad science, which allows for several redos of the tough little noir tale of mcguffin gems, gangland betrayal and various unfortunatre casualties in an attempt to bring about a happy ending. It needs close attention to keep up with what’s the same and what’s a variant – and one or two odd little clues (a diamond trodden into the sole of a betrayer’s boot) never do pay off – but this sort of story, so much easier to sell after decades of die-and-do-over computer games, always plays well, and Smith constructs an intricate puzzle with confidence.
McMorran is a credible, scruffy, afflicted leading man, and a fine supporting cast manage to invest their NPCs with enough humanity to keep their storylines involving (the Cassini brothers are credibly cast as cousins).