The Trigger Effect
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Academy Award nominee Elisabeth Shue stars with Kyle MacLachlan and Dermot Mulroney in this intensely gripping story of a mysterious power failure that leads to the social breakdown of a major city. All forms of communication are wiped out - no electricity, no cash machines and no telecommunication. The system and the rules society takes for granted begin crumbling down. Rumors of looters and shootings increase the fear and mistrust among frantic citizens. Now everything that society had taken for granted no longer works…and ordinary rules no longer apply.
Do yourself a favor and buy some canned goods, a flashlight, and a radio before you watch this film. Unfairly dismissed by the critics and missed by the public, this pre-Y2K suspense film by writer-director David Koepp (the writer of Jurassic Park and Apartment Zero) is a chilling, sobering experience that will turn any practical person into a paranoid, apocalyptic loon. When the power goes out in the big city and society starts to break down, husband and wife Matthew (Kyle MacLachlan) and Annie (Elisabeth Shue) find out that not even suburbia is safe. Complicating the situation is their mutual friend Joe (Dermot Mulroney), who stays with them during the blackout, partially because of his interest in Annie. Koepp's inventive and authentic take on interpersonal relationships (Shue and MacLachlan are great as a foundering couple) and the assault on the white-collar male ego are spot-on. Koepp doesn't stop there. He also plays and builds imaginatively on suspense conventions (including the casting of character-baddie Michael Rooker), race relations, and our prejudicial, judgmental attitudes toward strangers. The concatenation of events, how they affect us without our knowledge, and our dependence on the machinery and power that prop up our society complete this involving, perceptive analysis of our very weak social fabric. (The DVD includes some interesting production notes, including the fact that Annie and Matthew live on Maple and Willoughby, a nod to two famous episodes of The Twilight Zone, one of them being the paranoid "The Monsters Are Coming to Maple Street" episode.) --Keith Simanton
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Normal, law-abiding people and lawless people immediately lose their cool and start doing lawless things. Our hero goes out to buy a shotgun for self defense of his family. The next thing is that his wife, who is deathly afraid of guns, tosses it and the shells to the bottom of their swimming pool without telling him. Then they need it for self defense, but the shells are water-soaked and totally worthless. Then they decide to drive 500 miles to relatives in this lawless situation.
Whatever they can do wrong in an emergency situation, they do. In this, it is a great primer for "what not to do, if you want to survive."