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A Shock to the System (1990)

6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 2,695 users  
Reviews: 33 user | 16 critic

Graham Marshall already celebrates his anxiously awaited promotion in an advertising company, when he learns that Roger Benham, one of his subordinates, will be promoted instead of him. ... See full summary »

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Title: A Shock to the System (1990)

A Shock to the System (1990) on IMDb 6.8/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Graham Marshall
...
Stella Anderson
...
Robert Benham
...
Leslie Marshall
...
Lt. Laker
...
Melanie O'Conner
...
George Brewster
Barbara Baxley ...
Lillian
...
Tara Liston
...
Henry Park
Kent Broadhurst ...
Executive #1
...
Executive #2
...
Executive #3
Sam Schacht ...
David Jones
Christopher Durang ...
Convention Speaker
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Storyline

Graham Marshall already celebrates his anxiously awaited promotion in an advertising company, when he learns that Roger Benham, one of his subordinates, will be promoted instead of him. Frustrated that his hated life will never change, he starts a cunning ploy to take bloody revenge on everyone who humiliated him - starting with his unnerving wife. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Climbing the corporate ladder can be murder. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 March 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Abrakadabra  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$3,417,056 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was selected to screen at the Deauville Film Festival in 1990 where the movie and director Jan Egleson were nominated for the Critics Award. See more »

Goofs

A detective questions Michael Caine's secretary and writes down his telephone number on a piece of notepad paper for her. Later, when she decides to call him, she has his business card. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Graham Marshall: It all began one night when the lights went out.
See more »

Connections

References Cinderella (1950) See more »

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User Reviews

Crime DOES Pay if You Kill Horrible People!!!

Who says Michael Caine is a so-so actor? He plays the perfect combination of a truly nice guy ground down by his shrewish wife, his slimy peer-then-boss, and corporate life, in general. Movies like this give us corporate slaves a little relief from the utter amoral depravity of the 'civilized' world we inhabit in these rabbit warrens, otherwise known as 'Cubical Hell'.

This man makes you completely sympathize with every one of his murders, all nicely planned to look like accidents. In fact, I am amazed that some lawyer hasn't pulled the 'Shock to the System' defense. Certainly, it has as much attraction for the frustrated as the films usually blamed. It's just more subtle, more high-brow and takes a little more finesse.

The detective is wonderfully nosy, but how he can walk up to Caine in the middle of New York City is quite amazing to me. A little too much dramatic license, too much coincidence to be believable but you tend to forget your logical approach to life.

Reality is easily suspended as Caine gets in his licks for all the humuliations we nice people have suffered in the corporate world, where the rapacious are rewarded by CEO salaries. The laughs are fast and furious, all delivered in that great understated British fashion.

Mr. Downtrodden gets his licks in and when the new boss talks about his Cessna, you've already fixed the engine. There are traces of 'The Ruling Class' in here, as Mr. Nice Guy becomes king of the mountain by firing everyone 'who is not a contributor', thus ingratiating himself with Mr. Cessna. McGovern gives her Basset hound, soulful looks all through the film, and you feel her conflict about turning this wonderful guy in. She is promoted out and away, and all is well, which is usual for corporate shenanigans. They just usually don't involve murder.

Buy it and love it. Forget the professional reviewers for once on this. It's not meant to be 'Hamlet'.


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