A Shock to the System - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

A Shock to the System Reviews

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May 3, 2016
It was a bit of a funny movie that is set in the 80's.
½ December 23, 2014
This film was re-packaged, and sold as new, in our local 'Poundland' Shop in the UK, in December 2014. And despite the good reviews on here, I could not get into it at all.
September 30, 2013
Smart, nasty black comedy with a great performance by Michael Caine.
July 3, 2013
One of the best performances of Micheal Caine in the 1990's

Brilliant Black Comedy, a must for any film fan.
½ April 16, 2013
Never has such a Machiavellian killer seemed so appealing--Wickedly funny!!
½ March 13, 2013
The greatness of this film lies not with its story, but with the brilliant performance of Michael Caine. In my opinion, this is one of his best, and most underrated performances. A Shock to the System is not a great movie as a whole, but for the most part it is very entertaining. It is a short, well-casted, semi-thrilling movie with a brilliant ending, which is why I've given it a generous 3 stars.

Graham Marshall (Michael Caine), is a tired man that finds people around him are becoming more insufferable by the day. He anxiously awaited his promotion in an advertising company, when he learns that the undeserving Roger Benham (Peter Reigert) got promoted instead of him. Graham finally snaps. Frustrated that his hated life will never change, he cunningly concocts plans to take bloody revenge on everyone who brought him down, even his own nagging wife.

This isn't the most original of stories, but Michael Caine breathes life into the character of Graham, who sees himself as a sorcerer, a magician of life. It's almost as if he was going through a mid-life crisis that required him to kill people to get what he wanted. There were scenes that gave me chills. In one scene, Graham finds out that he is slowly getting fired. Thus came the Oscar worthy monologue from Caine which was the highlight of the film. "Well, let me tell you something, Bobster. You don't know the first fucking thing about power. I have more power in this hand than *all* you fucking know!"

I'm not sure whether it is because of a small budget or inferior equipment, but the whole film came across as a cheaply-made independent film. That's not to say that it was bad, but at times the scenes were too dark to see their faces. What made the film great, however, was the way it makes one question whether or not to root for the murderous Graham. It must be Caine's infectious personality, because it's so darn hard to hate this man. In the end, I did end up hating this character, which I attribute to the marvellous performance of Caine, for he broke my bias towards him as an actor and made me see him as the character.

Overall, A Shock to the System is a short, cheap, but entertaining film about a man who believes that he has the power, and the right, to kill people. It is exquisitely acted by Michael Caine in one of his finest roles. It forces the audience to question right and wrong, and leaves us with an ending that lets our imaginations fill the gaps. I thoroughly enjoyed this film.
½ November 3, 2012
A lesser-known Michael Caine movie. Pretty good. Interestiing, though not flawless or hole-proof, plot. Starts off feeling like something between American Psycho and Falling Down, but ultimately ends up as a more conventional crime caper. It needed a bit more grittiness toward the end to really ram its point home.

Great performance from Michael Caine, but that is to be expected. Solid support from Elizabeth McGovern and Swoosie Kurtz .
½ May 22, 2012
GOOD MOVIE I loved him in this just seeing what a great actor he really is
½ March 24, 2012
I think the best is when he kills his nagging wife, the smile he has on the phone while he tries to sound upset.
September 27, 2011
If you like black comedies, and Michael Caine, and you come across this one, rent it!
August 14, 2011
Michael Caine is a bit misplaced in this very much american drama/thriller taking place in 1990 New York, but still, it's Michael Caine.

Things are not going so well for Graham (Caine). He has got horrible colleagues at work, a horrible wife and a house with horrible wiring.

His career is going nowhere and he's getting old.

When he by accident kills a homeless person life changes a lot. New opportunities lays ahead of weird Graham.

It's not the greatest drama in history and the end is kind of cut of, but as mentioned before, it's Michael Caine and here and there we find some suspence and interesting twists in the plot.

Elisabeth McGovern plays the role as secretary Stella in an awful way and Grahams wife (Swoosie Kurtz is in deed boring, but it's always fun to watch Wil Patton who seven years after this would make himself Immortal in the epic The Postman.

Not bad, but not fantastic either
½ July 29, 2011
Haven't seen this in forever but loved it when it came out. Not sure if it holds up
½ January 26, 2011
Hello my RT friends,
I thought I'd write a review today since I'm sitting here bored to death on the East Coast looking out the window waiting for this winter storm to begin. So I decided to write about a great little film that maybe not too many of u have seen. I first saw this film many years ago & Ive always enjoyed seeing it again & again.

This film stars one of my all time favorite actors, Michael Caine in one of his best performances.

Here's a summary:
Graham Marshall (Michael Caine) is anxiously anticipating a promotion where he works as an advertising executive, when he learns that Roger Benham (Peter Riegert), one of his subordinates, will be given his promotion & thus becoming his boss. As u can probably guess he is very angry at the outcome. He's also very frustrated about his life that he hates & that nothing will ever change so he begins to plot & scheme to take bloody revenge on every person who humiliated him & that stands in his way of getting whatever he wants-beginning with his annoying wife Leslie (Swoosie Kurtz).

Michael Caine was perfect for this role. He made me feel very uneasy whenever he was onscreen. This film shows the audience why he is an outstanding actor. He can play being bad look so effortless. The supporting cast is also very good in their roles.

There are some great twists & turns. I couldnt wait to see what was peeking around the next corner. This movie is considered mystery suspense but there is also some black comedy mixed in too.

There's a scene in this film when Graham receives a call with bad news & he says without skipping a beat "Oh my God, what a shock." If youve seen the film then u know why that is a very funny line.

I highly recommend this great little movie.
I hope u enjoy it!!

Now, I ask u, what would u do if u were in a situation such as this?

As u know there is a dark side to the business world.
December 12, 2010
Wacky black comedy thriller worth a watch. Michael Caine, plays an old school employee, by passed for promotion in favor of his more Yuppie colleague. What happens when he decides to get back at the people he hates- his nagging wife, the smarmy yuppie, and others around. Watch it.
½ November 28, 2010
Thoughtless thriller with Michael Caine knocking-off some undesirable individuals in systematic fashion.
½ June 2, 2010
A damn hilarious but awful movie with Michael Caine. I got the weirdest feeling why pretty okay cast is doing a lousy job especially Caine and Patton.The film was aged already when it came out.
July 11, 2009
a really shitty movie no excitement at all.
March 1, 2009
Michael Caine plays an old school office jock in a corporate world being overrun by yuppies. He could be considered the anti-Patrick Bateman. . . until he decides to get a leg up on the yuppies and improve his standing in the company. Strong direction makes up for some weak writing choices. And Michael Caine is Michael Caine.
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