Overcome addiction with the new indie film ‘Against My Will’
Addiction is an issue we all face in some way or another. Life comes with a seemingly endless laundry list of obstacles, and sometimes the easiest way to cope with these obstacles is to embrace our addictions wholeheartedly. The conflict between self-improvement and self-destruction is at the core of Against My Will, the new film by writer/director Nils Lane.
Against My Will follows Valérie (Lydie Misiek), a successful woman who decides to leave her consulting firm to open up a popular restaurant. Her hopes for personal fulfillment are dashed, however, when a second lockdown of the French population is announced. Short on cash and running low on options, Valérie finds herself at the end of her rope. She decides to retreat into herself, and succumb to an addiction that frightens those closest to her.
The film is an unflinching account of desperate times, and much of the emotional weight of Valérie’s descent is due to Misiek’s commanding lead performance. She allows the viewer to sympathize with the character, even when she’s making decisions to further sabotage everything she’s worked so hard to achieve. There’s an aching humanity to Misiek that registers in even her bleakest moments, which ensures that we never lose sight of the decent person hidden within.
Misiek previously made a splash in the short films 2 Jours (2018) and Honneur aux dames (2021), but we’d argue that she manages to top those earlier performances with her layered, weathered portrayal of Valérie. It’s evident from Misiek’s no-frills acting that she and director Nils Lane were able to form a strong working relationship, which is absolutely crucial for a story as simplistic and nakedly honest as Against My Will.
Lane has been making short films since he was 19, so it should come as no surprise that he knows exactly what she wants and how to frame it. He took a sojourn from his cinematic aspirations to study engineering (and to hold a subsequent career in that field), but he returned to his one true love and began releasing material in 2020. In addition to self-financing his films, Lane takes care of the screenwriting, producing, and directing duties.
A recurring theme of Lane’s work is deception, and the belief that “nothing is what it seems”. It has served him well in shorts like 8 Loops (2020) and Realistic (2021), and blossoms further in Against My Will. The throes of addiction may seem like an enticing respite from the world, but the director is only too aware of the ways in which it can ruin someone’s life forever. Against My Will delves into the notion of self-delusion, which is arguably the most dangerous form of delusion there is.
Lane’s emphasis on theme is why he prefers to spend a lengthy part of the filmmaking process on writing the script. A good twist will stick with the audience long after the credits have rolled, and Lane’s affinity for genres like horror and science fiction has sharpened his storytelling skills from a young age. In his films, one can never take something at face value.
Lane’s auteur sensibility doesn’t end when the film wraps. In addition to being the primary creative force, Lane is the color grader, sound mixer and editor of his own shorts. Though he considers himself to be less skilled in these arenas, he’s a fast learner and he’s rapidly developing a singular editing style.
Nils Lane currently resides in London, and his goal is to be the screenwriter and director of a produced feature-length motion picture. In the meantime, he’s preparing multiple short films in the drama, thriller and sci-fi genres, as well as a web series about social and emotional relationships in our generation. Given the quality of a film like Against My Will, we can’t wait to see what these projects hold in store.