Christian Hokenson | Burbank, CA United States | 06/15/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"What can you say about movies that seemingly fly under the radar of most folks' awareness?? I think most people missed out on this one from the late '90s. This was filmed as David Koepp's calling card into feature films as a director (having already written "Carlito's Way" and "Jurrasic Park," among other terrific films) and it is very light on action and very character driven... obviously budget gets in the way of major action set pieces, but that should never be an obstacle to good characters and plausible writing... Koepp handles all those chores adeptly and keeps a very good pace going... While his characters decide what to do when the blackout hits (and then lingers for days, and days, and days and...) you never feel as if their actions are out-of-line with reality and what people might do under the very same conditions.This is a taut thriller, but hardly of the depth of Hitchcock's work. Instead, the film is an elaborate "Twilight Zone" episode (and gives its nods to Rod Serling's classic anthology show in both visual and verbal gags... the characters literally live at the corner of Maple and Willoughby streets (a gag on the episodes "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" (a direct antecedent to "The Trigger Effect") and "Last Stop, Willoughby" (which has nothing at all to do with this film, but is still a nice touch for those who feel this film is a direct lift from "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street") and is filmed in very sparse and minimalist ways to highlight the tension and agitation of the characters.The key scene in this film comes fairly early, when all bets for civilized society are called off... this scene, when Matt (Kyle MacLachlan) attempts to get amoxicilin for his little infant girl (ear infection, very painful and made excruciating in the prior scene with Elizabeth Shue's character holding the crying girl during heatwave-like conditions inside the home). The pharmacist will not let him have it... plain and simple. The electricity does not work, the phones are also screwed and the doctor cannot verfiy the prescription... therefore, no medicine no matter how much pleading and cajoling Matt can attempt with the larger man behind the counter... as the scene progresses it turns ugly, a microcosm of just how frayed our civil attitudes have become in this day of technology handling just about everything for us. It's tense, it's upsetting, and it works very, very well without one punch thrown or one drop of blood spilled, a credit to Koepp's burgeoning (at the time) directorial skills.The film kind of falls apart about 3/4's of the way through... it tries to wrap things up a little too neatly, but in the end, it's a satisfying film for those that like their thrillers with an apocalyptic edge (the film reminded me, just a bit, of the nuclear war thrillers of the 1980's including "The Day After," "Testament" and "Threads"... especially "Threads").It's not corny, but it's not a masterpiece either... instead it's a competently written film with a first-time director (who wrote it) who pulls off the thrills on a tight budget. Worth a rental, if not a buy (especially at a price of under $10)."
SHOULD TRIGGER SOME THOUGHTS
Michael Butts | Martinsburg, WV USA | 04/16/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"THE TRIGGER EFFECT offers a somber view of what happens when a major force in our every day life---electrical power---is lost, and how we react to it. The expected looting, the raising in price of things such as guns, the importance of a doctor's prescription. One of the most chilling scenes is when Kyle McLachlan tries to get some amoxicillin for his infant daughter and the pharmacist won't give it to him without a prescription. The pharmacist (played by veteran character actor William Lucking) ends up telling McLachlan he "doesn't like him." Kyle is forced later to steal the medicine. Elisabeth Shue plays his wife, and Dermot Mulroney his friend, Joe. Michael Rooker has a strong cameo as a psychotic man who shoots Joe and steals the family's vehicle. Richard T. Jones who weaves in and out of the movie offers some sublime support in a pivotal key role.
This is a dark, disturbing film and it feels lethargic; yet its pacing and broodiness underscore the fact that society's underpinnings are fragile indeed."
A very interesting plot for a movie
Michael Butts | 01/27/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I really enjoyed this movie. The acting is very good by the
three main characters. The plot is the power goes out in a busy
city for no reason at all. It shows the panic and hysteria
which goes on in a particular neighborhood without getting too
violent. The story centers around Elizabeth Shue and her husband
and another male friend. yhere is tension between the three main
characters, their neighborhood, and the city itself. This movie
shows what panic can do to ordinary people and the good and bad
it brings out in characters when faced with situations which
occur when they come in contact with the unknown. Buy this movie
you will like it especially if you like the three main actors
in the movie"
A hypnotic , gripping thriller with impeccable performances.
Michael Butts | 03/14/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Trigger effect is the directorial debut of writer David Koepp who proves himself as talented a director as he's a writer. His first film is a bizzare piece of suspense\thriller that grabs the viewer through till the finale. Intriguing , stylish and visually beautiful and filled with great performances from MacLachaln and Shue this a unique movie experience."
Doesn't explore the trigger concept to its full extent
Danielle | The Netherlands | 07/29/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Maybe I am on the wrong wavelength here but the film reminded me somewhat of Pay it Forward, i.e. the way people treat each other can have a profound influence on the world around us. Without giving too much away of the plot of The Trigger Effect it seemed to suggest that while everyone was treating each other badly (from a minor insult, to racial prejudice, to shooting someone dead) the entire world ended up on the path to destruction. But as soon as someone did something good, the trigger effect takes over and the world became a better place. Interesting scenario. A bit simplistically portrayed in my view but an interesting look at what could happen when our society starts to fall apart."