6.7/10
3,563
42 user 18 critic

A Shock to the System (1990)

Trailer
1:59 | Trailer

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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:

Jan Egleson

Writers:

Simon Brett (novel), Andrew Klavan (screenplay)
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Caine ... Graham Marshall
Elizabeth McGovern ... Stella Anderson
Peter Riegert ... Robert Benham
Swoosie Kurtz ... Leslie Marshall
Will Patton ... Lt. Laker
Jenny Wright ... Melanie O'Conner
John McMartin ... George Brewster
Barbara Baxley ... Lillian
Haviland Morris ... Tara Liston
Philip Moon ... Henry Park
Kent Broadhurst ... Executive #1
Zach Grenier ... Executive #2
David Schramm ... Executive #3
Sam Schacht Sam Schacht ... David Jones
Christopher Durang 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. Sir 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:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 March 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Abrakadabra See more »

Filming Locations:

Essex Fells, New Jersey, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$3,417,056
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Brigand Films See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie has sometimes mistakenly being referred to as being the directorial debut of Jan Egleson, but this is not the case, as Egleson had helmed such earlier feature films as Billy in the Lowlands (1979) and The Dark End of the Street (1981). See more »

Goofs

At 72:59 when Graham is following the secretary that has the envelope opened and wrapped again by Stella to the elevator a boom Mic is visible. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Referenced in Kapou se xero: Episode #1.9 (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Michael Caine Classic
22 April 2004 | by G-R-LeaSee all my reviews

Little-noticed on release and little-seen thereafter, the annoying thing is that this has to rate as one of Caine's better films; yet trying to find a copy of/transmission of it (at least in the UK) can be quite difficult.

Caine's portrayal of the central character, Graham Marshall, an advertising executive sidelined and humiliated during a corporate restructuring, is deliciously wicked (even down to his devilish facial expressions), both in its comedy and thriller components. Elizabeth McGovern, playing the role of Stella, Marshall's PA, is sweetly convincing as the innocent dupe in Marshall's subsequent plotting.

Part of the (admittedly dark) fun with this film is that, thanks to the monumental unpleasantness of the characters which Marshall comes up against, you really want him to do terrible things and to get away with them. Enjoy!!


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