6.7/10
3,335
39 user 17 critic

A Shock to the System (1990)

When you think you're at the top of the corporate ladder and then discover they have managed to pull that ladder away, sometimes you have to take it upon yourself to 'level' the playing ... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

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

When you think you're at the top of the corporate ladder and then discover they have managed to pull that ladder away, sometimes you have to take it upon yourself to 'level' the playing field, both professionally and personally. Michael Caine delivers an electrifying performance as Graham Marshall, who quickly catches onto the possibilities as he clears all the hurdles to occupy the corner office. Written by Edgy01

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)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This theatrical movie went straight-to-video in several markets and territories. 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.
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Connections

References Cinderella (1950) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Graham has had enough of getting the shaft…
15 November 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

A Shock to the System is directed by Jan Egleson and adapted to screenplay by Andrew Klavan from the novel written by Simon Brett. It stars Michael Caine, Elizabeth McGovern, Peter Riegert, Will Patton and Swoosie Kurtz. Music is by Gary Chang and cinematography by Paul Goldsmith.

Graham Marshall (Caine) is once again overlooked for promotion and once again his harpy wife (Kurtz) belittles him.Then a heated exchange at the train station results in the accidental death of a beggar, and he gets away with it, something which gives Graham some devilish thoughts, one of Satan's light bulbs ignited above his head.

By his own admission Michael Caine has readily done films just to pay the bills or build a new house. His success ratio as per great films and performances to bad films and tired performances probably stacks up as 1 in 10, consider this, in this same year he made Bullseye! What we do know though, is that when he gets it right he knocks it out the park and thus makes all his bad films easy to forgive.

A Shock to the System is an under valued film on his CV, a brilliantly constructed black comedy that finds Caine effortlessly shifting through the emotional gears. From beat down Milquetoast to ruthless killer with a glint in his eye, Caine plays it to perfection. There's stabs of humour along the way, Caine a natural at this of course, and he even gets a young love interest in the form of the unbelievably cute Lizzie McGovern. Interesting to note that Graham's sex life improves greatly once the killing begins!

Driven by an antagonist who toys with the audiences sympathies and moral repulsions, this is a film that's deserving of greater exposure and is ripe for re-evaluation. Great film, great Caine. 9/10


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