A Shock to the System
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|A Shock to the System|
|Directed by||Jan Egleson|
|Produced by||Patrick McCormick|
|Written by||Andrew Klavan|
|Editing by||William M. Anderson
Peter C. Frank
|Distributed by||Corsair Pictures|
|Running time||91 minutes|
A Shock to the System (1990) is a U.S. crime thriller film directed by Jan Egleson, starring Michael Caine, Swoosie Kurtz, Elizabeth McGovern, and Peter Riegert. It is based on the 1984 novel A Shock to the System by British author Simon Brett.
A family man named Graham Marshall, a long-time executive in a large advertising company, is unexpectedly passed over for promotion. Marshall himself can live with it, but his nagging wife Leslie is devastated and continually reproaches her husband for his apparent lack of ambition and willpower.
Deciding to take revenge on all the people who have caused him problems in his life, Marshall starts meticulously planning their violent deaths. This includes his wife, whom he eventually electrocutes, and his young rival at the office, Bob Benham.
Marshall becomes much better acquainted with an office colleague, Stella Anderson. And when none of the murders is linked to him, Graham feels vindicated in his belief that killing off everyone who has harmed him is the right thing to do. He soon passes the point of no return.
- Michael Caine as Graham Marshall
- Elizabeth McGovern as Stella Anderson
- Peter Riegert as Bob Benham
- Swoosie Kurtz as Leslie Marshall
- Will Patton as Lt. Laker
Difference between book and film
At the end of Brett's novel, overwhelming evidence is suddenly brought against him for a murder he did not commit.
This ending was first used by Anthony Berkeley (writing as Francis Iles) in his 1931 novel Malice Aforethought (see whodunnit). It should also be noted that the ending of the movie version is completely different, with Marshall exulting in his new life of crime and in no danger whatsoever of being brought to justice.
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