The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio on August 30, 1996 · Page 94
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The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio · Page 94

Cincinnati, Ohio
Issue Date:
Friday, August 30, 1996
Page 94
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- A A r t i"v' V iA The Cincinnati Enquirer RUT" . , . . Friday, August 30, 199611 CRITIC'S PICKS TOP ART FILM: Antonia's Line () Here's your chance to catch up with the film that won the 1995 Academy Award for a foreign film. Dutch filmmaker Marleen Gorris builds her mulligenerational tale around one strong-minded woman who'd rather be happy than respectable. At The Movies. FOR KIDS: Matilda (a) For a wicked back-to-school treat, take the youngsters to this gleeful fantasy. Rhea Perlman and Danny DeVito are such rotten parents they'll make you look like Parents of the Year. At National Amusements, Showplace 8, Star-lite Drive-In. FOR TEEN-AGERS: Jack () Newer releases are mostly so tedious they're not worth your time. So check out this deceptively simple story for eye-opening lessons in acting, from Robin Williams, and in the craft of filmmaking, from one of the great directors of our time, Francis Ford Coppola. At National Amusements, Showplace 8, Danbarry Cinemas. 11017 TIIEY RATE Excellent Good Fair Poor No star-Bomb ;er almost hits, bulls-eve But flat ending mars provocative tale 4 'Trigg of society spinning out of control BY MARGARET A. McGURK The Cincinnati Enquirer w n ihe inneer tnect. Dower electri cal power is a cloak that hides the crumbling fabric of modern civilization. Television, alarm systems and portable phones calm the anxiety of a society where "neighbor" and "friend" are polite poses rather than emotional truths. When the lights go out, nothing is left to shield people from fear, cowardice and anger simmering just under the skin. It's a provocative and disquieting premise that writer-director David Koepp spins out on screen, and he does it with style and subtlety despite a weak, confused ending through the eyes of young parents caught short by a massive power out age. Casting the all-but-discarded Kyle MacLachlan (Showgirls) as the anxious young husband Matthew was a risky move, particularly when his wife, Annie, is played by an actress as potent and nuanced as Elisabeth Shue. But Mr. MacLachlan proves to be a wise choice for the unpleasant role. s cose REVIEW The Trigger Effect (R; language, some violence) Kyle MacLachlan, Elisabeth Shue, Dermot i Mulroney. 93 minutes. At National Amusements. Matthew may be the main character, but he's no hero. He is both cowardly and petulant, indecisive and impulsive. He avoids confronta tion when it's called for when a theater patron obscenely insults his wife, for instance then provokes it when it's pointless, shouting vulgar names at the pharmacist who won't sell him medicine without a prescription. , V He responds badly when Annie invites his best friend Joe (Dermot Mulroney) to move in during the blackout Uncertainty, sexual tension and a showdown with a burglar scare them into running. Their flight only ups the moral ante as they cross paths first with a stranded driver (Michael Rooker), then with a mystery man who represents all their unspoken fears (Richard T.Jones). The final 15 minutes or so of the film are a big disappointment; after revving up the tension to a high torque, Mr. Koepp just lets the air out of the tires to bring things to a halt Too bad; The Trigger Effect is a pretty good movie that, with a satisfying or at least coherent ending, could have been a lot better. 1 u V : V u if mMmmm mi i m mmm m Koepp's 'Effect' takes 'what-if look at society BY JOHN HARTL Seattle Tlme9 A power outage brings the lives of a subur ban couple (Kyle MacLachlan, busabeth .1 h i; Shue) to a halt With computers down, they can't get a prescription for their tiny daughter, who's suffering from an ear infection. Dad steals the medicine from a pharmacy, a burglar breaks into f-4 their house, guns sprout in tne neighborhood, their best friend (Dermot Mulroney) begins to give in 'ZJt to his sexual feelings for the dissatis-fied wife, and within hours civilization is x looking like a luxury of the past That's the plot of David Koepp's The Trijger Effect. It probably sounds as if it's V capitalizing on recent headlines about widespread power outages in Oregon, California and other states. But this isn't a quickie exploitation movie. It was written two years ago and had its world premiere in June at the Seattle International Film Festival. Mr. Koepp has a history of writing stories about neighbors who could be killers. These are characters I personally understand," said Mr. Koepp, who was born in Wisconsin, graduated from UCLA Fdm School a decade ago, and now lives in Santa Monica, Calif. "When technological advances go out, the veneer of civilization is removed also, and they're capable of inappropriate behavior." The inspiration for the script was James L. Burke's BBC documentary, Connections, which dealt with our dependence on a series of inventions. Mr. Koepp was also remembering an old Twilight Zone episode, The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street," that starred his late uncle, Claude Akins. Superficially, The Trigger Effect resembles Panic in Year Zero and other tales of civilization meltdowns. But he avoids the action-movie cliches of the genre, particularly when Mr. MacLach-lan's character is given a chance to act violently to salvage his family. "I was trying to build to a classic confrontation and then not allow it" Mr. Koepp said. "I was building toward a moment when the violence does not take place. It's a film that is sickened by violence. ThcyVe brought a loaded shotgun into the situation; in a sense they've brought this on themselves." Even though Mr. Koepp has co-written Jurassic Park, Death Becomes Her andCarlito's Way, he had to resort to low-budget methods to make his directing debut with The Trigger Effect. His one less-than-ideal experience was the Tom Cruise hit Mission: Impossible, rewritten several times. "We had a lot of cooks on that one, which is not good for a movie," he said.

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