A Shock To The System : The Film - The Book
Poor Graham Marshall (Michael Caine). He’s married to a woman he hates. He's passed over for a promotion in the advertising company that he works for. And worst of all, he accidentally kills a vagrant by nudging him under a subway train.
Still, do you know what the strange thing about list last instance is? Instead of Graham feeling sorrow for killing a man, he becomes so empowered by it, that he decides to change his life as if he was some sort of magician.
You see, to begin with, this takes the form of Graham arranging for his wife to be killed by an electrical accident, whilst he is away on a business trip. And then, when this works, VZZZZT! It gives Graham the gumption to sell his house, date his office college, Stella Anderson (Elizabeth McGovern), before setting his sights on the next person who is distressing his way of life.
His new boss, Bob Benham (Peter Riegert).
This time though, Graham is very-very crafty in how he arranges to dispose of Bob. (1) He swindles a credit card from his ex-boss after a leaving party with him. (2) He uses this card to order a rented car whilst steeling some sleeping pills from a office clerk. (3) Whilst dining with Stella at her apartment, he slips her the sleeping pills, and drives off in the rented car to Bob’s boat, where he knows that he will be the following morning. (4) He rigs this vesicle to explode when of cabin door is opened. And (5) Before he finally goes back to Stella’s place, and stays with her for the rest of the night.
And do you know what? It work’s too, BOOM!
My God! Grahams magic, isn't he? Especially now that he gets the promotion that wanted as the head of the advertising agency. However, if Graham is magic, what does that make Lieutenant Laker?
Yep. I am afraid to say that since Graham killed his late-wife, Lieutenant Laker has been on his trail, trying his best to figure out what the hell has been going on with him for all this time. Well, I suppose that is why what next transpires is a right aspect of Legerdemain I can tell you . As alibi's changes focus - culprits do a hocus pocus - dead men tell no lies - and heaven is full of spies.
My God! What a well rounded and solid film! I’m just amazed that 'A Shock To The System' isn't a much more respected movie! It boasts a great cast, comprising one of my all time favorites actors, Michael Caine, who, from his mannered performance, effortlessly acts as an insane man in an insane world. Heck, I just can’t fault this film - its that good!. The actors are sublime. The voice-over is enhancing. The story is a creative one. And the ending is a right eyebrow raiser also.
Oh! Wait a minute! I just thought of something that isn't all that great. That tie that Michael’s character is wearing is just crap. There - found something - don’t watch this film because the ‘tie picker’ is a plonker, HA!
Well, seriously speaking of course, I do wish that maybe the supporting cast could have been ‘bigger names’. Now no disrespect given to the likes of Peter, Elisabeth, or the rest of the crew. But maybe with some added support to prop this film up a notch or two, it could have possibly been respected as great film, rather than a sold film.
Boy-oh-boy - I hated to say that - I feel like a right ‘tie picker’ now. Lets have some trivia shall we? (1) Peter made his professional debut playing Chico Marx in the musical on the life and times of 'The Marx Brothers'. (2) Michael Caine's real name is Maurice Mcklewhite, and took his stage name from the 1954 film 'The Caine Mutiny'. (3) This film was based on a 1984 book of the same name, written by author, Simon Brett. (4) Elisabeth was engaged to the actor, Sean Penn, when she fell in love with him on the set of the movie 'Racing with the Moon'. (5) Michael shared his London flat with actor, Terence Stamp. (6) Samuel L Jackson has quick cameo as a three-card Monte street dealer in this movie. (7) Peter was once an eighth grade school teacher, and was the former boyfriend of Bette Midler too. (8) Elisabeth sings and plays the guitar in her own band "Sadie and the Hotheads". And (9) Michael was awarded a Knight Bachelor of the Order of the British Empire, for his contribution to the performing arts.
Phew! Nice set of facts, huh? Just like 'A Shock To The System' is a very nice film. Honestly, I thought that one of the most intriguing aspects to it, is the dilemma pitched in at the end. You see, if you think about it for a moment or two, can a person actually live with themselves if they have gotten away with murder? Now this topic was touched upon in the Woody Allen flick 'Crimes and Misdemeanors' (click here for the review), and gives a similar reply too. Still, is the media correct in their outcome? Or is there something more too it? What do you think Michael?
Great film, and a class act though and through.
THE RATING: A