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A Shock to the System (1990)

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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:

Killing is easy... Getting away with it is murder. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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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)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,002,158, 25 March 1990

Gross USA:

$3,417,056

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,417,056
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Brigand Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

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 was selected to screen at the Deauville Film Festival in 1990, where this movie and Director Jan Egleson were nominated for the Critics Award. See more »

Goofs

A detective questions Michael Caine's secretary and writes down his telephone number on a piece of notepad paper for her. Later, when she decides to call him, she has his business card. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Version of The Ax (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A deliciously dark comedy
12 September 2014 | by MOscarbradleySee all my reviews

Michael Caine made "A Shock to the System" in 1990 and I must have blinked and missed it, (me and a lot of others). He's Graham Marshall, a corporate businessman who is passed over for promotion in favour of his hot-shot subordinate Peter Riegert. Naturally, he doesn't take this too well. In fact, he feels that he's cursed in some way and he really should do something about it. As it turns out, "A Shock to the System" is a deliciously funny and dark comedy about a man who will go to any lengths, including murder, if it means getting ahead and Caine is terrific, (it's actually one of his best performances), and he's backed by an equally terrific supporting cast. Riegert is superbly slimy as Caine's new boss; then there's Elizabeth McGovern as the colleague who takes a shine to him, Swoosie Kurtz as his social-climbing wife, John McMartin as the out-going head of department and Will Patton as a very inquisitive cop. The director was Jon Egelson who doesn't revert to any tricks to tell his tale but rather relies on the quality of his material and his cast and it and they don't let him down.


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