trigger

2010
Directed by: Bruce McDonald, Written by: Daniel MacIvor

I like movies that aren't afraid to talk. I love that there are still some filmmakers out there prepared to let their characters speak. Sometimes it's messy, sometimes it's long-winded, and I'm sure for the action-oriented crowd it is boring as hell in parts, but Trigger had something to say, and it damn well said it.

For the classic movie fans among us, the film's opening scene in a restaurant that was both pretentious and absolutely perfect, will bring back visions of My Dinner with Andre, where two characters sit in a restaurant and battle out their issues with one another. Trigger doesn't go that far, it does eventually remove our two heroines from the confines of that awkward space, but only to let them loose again on their old stomping ground to work through powerful grievances that have been brewing for a long time.

The film revolves around two women, Vic and Kat (played with enormous versatility by the late Tracy Wright and Molly Parker) who are reuniting after ten years apart. Together they were Trigger, a pop/punk band that we are led to believe reached a certain level of fame - if not so much fortune - before Kat became a fall-down drunk and Vic disappeared into heroin abuse.

Now clean, they meet on the eve of a tribute to women in rock event, with both a loathing for each other, and a desperate need for understanding and forgiveness. You can tell there's a deep connection between them even as they bicker, and its a fine line to walk that the actresses tread very well.

Over the course of the evening they hash over the past, present and future, sometimes tenderly, sometimes tearing each other to shreds, both with a desperate need for the pity and understanding they know they'll never get from anyone else. Even though it isn't made explicit that the two women were lovers physically ten years before, they are obviously the love of each other's lives.

Nothing is made explicit actually. If the film has a flaw (besides the tendency for the characters to over explain everything) its that the raw intensity that they have for each other needs an outlet, and I don't think it would have hurt the film to explore their mutual physical attraction. Instead, the biggest hint we get to Vic's bisexuality at least is a brief encounter with another old friend in a bathroom, that is swiftly cut short because Vic is apparently in no state of mind to be giving any part of herself to someone else, even casually.

It didn't surprise me that the screenwriter MacIvor is normally a playwright - Trigger could have come alive equally well on the stage where that much dialogue is not only accepted but expected. If I could draw a parallel with any film, this has the hallmarks of Before Sunrise, another chatty film that crawls a city streetscape. Only in Trigger, instead of not knowing each other at all, the two leads know each other way too well.

It was fantastic to see Molly Parker in a lead role, and she acquits herself admirably. Tracy Wright is a tremendous loss to the acting community. She died of pancreatic cancer shortly after making this film, and if you go in armed with that knowledge it makes the scenes where Vic shares her fears about a possible terminal illness that much more resonating. She was a powerful actress, and this film is a fitting tribute to that fact.

Got a comment? Write to me at nancyamazon@gmail.com

 

 

Last updated: 19 Feb, 2012