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A Shock to the System
A Shock to the System
Actors: Michael Caine, Elizabeth McGovern, Peter Riegert, Swoosie Kurtz, Will Patton
Director: Jan Egleson
Genres: Comedy, Mystery & Suspense
R     2004     1hr 31min

Studio: First Look Home Entertain Release Date: 05/25/2004


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Movie Details

Actors: Michael Caine, Elizabeth McGovern, Peter Riegert, Swoosie Kurtz, Will Patton
Director: Jan Egleson
Creators: Paul Goldsmith, Peter C. Frank, Alice Arlen, Leslie Morgan, Patrick McCormick, Andrew Klavan, Simon Brett
Genres: Comedy, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Comedy, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: First Look Pictures
Format: DVD - Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 05/25/2004
Original Release Date: 03/23/1990
Theatrical Release Date: 03/23/1990
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 31min
Screens: Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 7
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Play Naughty; Win Big
sweetmolly | RICHMOND, VA USA | 06/16/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Michael Caine is marvelous when playing a happy villain. He was impossibly beautiful as a young man, but middle aged Michael with serious bags under his eyes and a slight weight problem has an air of wounded vanity, as if he can't quite understand how things went wrong.Caine, as Graham Marshall, is a fairly successful marketing director with an expensive home, an expensive and slightly boring wife, and is desperately anticipating a promotion for his many years of diligence. He is stunned when he is passed over for a young, brash associate. Graham has an epiphany when a particularly smarmy panhandler enrages him, and Graham impulsively shoves him off the subway platform in the path of an oncoming train. No one has seen him and Graham muses on his "magical" powers. He quickly and cleverly dispatches the wife and the business rival, gets rid of his white elephant of a house in the suburbs, boards the pets and gets a tasteful apartment in Manhattan. Though homicide Lt. Laker (Will Patton with a splendid Long Island accent) is suspicious, nothing can be proved. Graham not only gets the promotion, he has his eye on taking over the company, dispatching his rivals on his upward climb.What keeps the tension intact is the victims are not cartoon-like villains. The wife is irritating, but not evil. The youngster who beat him out for the promotion is vulgar, but it is clear he is clever and competent. We just cannot help but cheer Graham on his nefarious way. Michael Caine's glee and satisfaction are catching.There is more than a whiff of Alec Guinness's "Kind Hearts and Coronets" in Caine's performance, but Michael Caine has a knack for villainy all his own. "Shock to the System" may be a trifle of a movie, but it is a highly enjoyable trifle. ...."
Defines black humor
sweetmolly | 08/29/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a witty, morbidly funny movie. It's weak in spots, andthe occult "magician" comments in Michael Caine's voice-over narration is perhaps a little misplaced. But it is an original movie, and entertaining, and as Michael Caine said when making it, "The thing is, this guy is murdering people, BUT YOU ARE ON HIS SIDE." After seeing this movie, you might find yourself looking at conniving rats in your life and thinking back to this movie! Even though Michael Caine plays an Englishman, it takes place in New York, and is a VERY American piece, in that it shows the absolute subtext of all American life is that you MUST be a success. I've seen this movie a number of times. The humor is twisted. But good..."
Punchy stinging black comedy of the workplace
LGwriter | Astoria, N.Y. United States | 05/23/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Here's where Michael Caine shines, as a corporate exec who gets passed over for the promotion he's so feverishly expecting he'll get in favor of a young Turk--well played by Peter Reigert--who lords it over Caine's character in subtle (and not so subtle) ways. Caine's wife, also well played by Swoosie Kurtz, one of the great unknown American stage and film actresses, is a serious [problem] to him. So he has two people in his life who are supremely annoying.What does he do? Well, let's just say that his solution to these two problems ends in the population of the world changing, shall we?The dialogue in this very smart blackly comic thriller is sharp as a razor; it's a lot of fun to watch Mr. Caine give us his best as a put upon exec who's more than capable of flying into a rage at the drop of a hat and of executing his very sneaky and well thought out plans for revenge. Also on hand is Elizabeth Perkins, an equally intelligent office colleague who attracts Caine in more ways than one, but does not suspect him of any wrongdoing at all. That is, until...One of the best office comedies around, A Shock to the System is a stinging portrait of greed and selfishness in America--for my money, far better than the somewhat overblown Wall Street. This is a movie that gives you a great evening's entertainment and part of the reason for that may be to secretly exact vengeance upon those corporate bigwigs who've prevented you from getting a job for so long, given this miserable economy.Great job. Highly recommended."
Michael Caine is brilliant in this black comedy.
R. Becker | Ross, CA United States | 06/12/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"You're here so you're probably a Michael Caine fan. So, the crux of the issue is; Is this a performance you need to see? The answer is yes. If you're a fan of Michael Caine's you HAVE to have this film. He is absolutely brilliant in it. No other actor could have pulled this off. The wicked, sly, dark humor, the subtlety, killing people and not only making you laugh about it, but actually root for him. Caine nails it. If you're a Caine fan, you're not looking for some big obvious slap-stick comedy, you're looking for something a little more off-beat and original. You found it. Enjoy."