To say I am a sucker for hard rocking music films is an understatement. One of my favorite films in this genre is Rockstar of which I am still waiting for a good blu-ray release. Other films like This is Spinal Tap or even The Runaways also hold my interest for a good time. So, I was a little interested when I saw Trigger come to my doorstep, a tale about two reunited female musicians who are brought back together for one great night.
Two girls tear up the stage and put on a great performance of rocking their hearts out set to a peaceful piano number. The music ends with some guitar bashing, lead singer boozing and general chaos. Ahhh, so peaceful. We fast forward to ten years later and arrive in a fancy restaurant. Vic (played byTracy Wright) shows up (the guitarist) and is seated at a table. About forty five minutes to an hour later, Kat (lead singer) (played by Molly Parker) shows up and apologizes for being late.
Kat has been staying busy as a music director for Lifetime and Vic is mostly writing music, having just released an acoustic album. Kat tries to sell the idea to Vic of her doing a few themes for the network, but Vic pushes the idea aside. They start to grumble back and forth about the fact that Kat was late and then the conversation starts to pulse back to when they were still a band. They also chat up the Women of Rock benefit that both of them are supposed to attend later that night.
At a rather harsh moment, Vic decides to escape the confrontation by going to the bathroom. For the next couple of minutes, we are introduced via cut in of what these two girls would like to be doing right now. For Vic, that means some hardcore drugging (looks like heroin to me) and for Kat that means boozing it up and then getting it on with some male bystanders. However, Vic has found spirituality as the cure for her addiction and Kat has went to a few AA meetings for hers (not convinced).
Vic takes this moment to briefly pray in the bathroom before returning to the table. They talk some about Vic’s spirituality. As it turns out Vic is about as agnostic as Kat is, so when the guitarist is praying, she is not entirely sure who she is praying to. But at least they are acting pleasant towards each other again. So eventually Vic agrees to go to the benefit with Kat for old time’s sake, but she is certainly NOT going to perform. We know how this is going to go.
Anyway as they leave, Kat decides she really doesn’t want to get up on the stage in an 850 dollar sweater. So the two musicians decide to visit Vic’s living quarters in search of a t-shirt. There we are introduced to Brian (played by Don McKellar) who is living with Vic and working on his memoirs. Vic eventually finds a t-shirt for Kat and they are off to the benefit. The night is young for these two bandmates, and if they can get along, a fantastic night will be had.
This movie really explores the chemistry of the two leads, as Vic and Kat rediscover their true friendship as brought together by the music they so love. Both Molly Parker and Tracy Wright do a great job of showing that bond and then using their acting chops to demonstrate this. There might be other actors and actresses in this movie but one does not even need to know it when these two are on the screen. A very passionate and emotional film, but it just does not feel right.
Where is the hard rocking music? For maybe five minutes in this film, we actually get the two doing a rock song together. Any other time in the film (even though it might look like they are doing their thing), we get some sappy piano interlude like this is a film they run on Lifetime or the “O”. Oh wait, it probably is. Here is a great example. Before Vic and Kat go into the benefit, they are spotted by an up and coming band named “Pissflap”. They hand Vic a tape who eventually gives it to Kat.
When Kat finally gets around to playing it, we are treated to some piano interlude. Not a crappy garage band or even perhaps a song that sounds like it might have come from Trigger themselves, just piano interlude #239. This movie is nothing about the music and I guess that is what frustrates me the most. While I am not expecting miracles, their choice of music selection is awful at best. And in a music based movie, music choice is the most important thing of all. Perhaps I’ll make an Ozzy Osbourne movie where the only music is a flute playing Green River (yes that is a CCR song and that is my point).
The video is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The video can only be described as average for this film. Since this film deals with the two castmembers at night, lighting is a constant issue and much of the moment is reduced to a lot of haze and pixilation. The production is really spotty and unfortunately only picks up for a few brief moments when the action hits a fever pitch. (very brief moments)
The audio is presented in 5.1 (2.0 Mix also included) English Dolby Digital. Despite the fact that the music choices in this movie are substandard, when the actually play, they do give the speakers a boost. As long as you like piano music. The dialog is strong and there are no problems deciphering anybody in the movie. Surrounds are used thankfully, so when we do find a tune we like, we might want to even crank it up to eleven. Closed captioning is also available.
- Automatic Trailers: Please Do Not Download Gay and Lesbian movies illegally (I wish I was kidding), and Leading Ladies.
- Trailer 1:03: The original trailer. They show the only about 5 minutes that was interesting at all in the movie. Trust me folks, the other seventy three minutes move about as slow as you do after your third helping of Thanksgiving turkey.
- Actor’s Table Reading 1:55: A very short table reading involving a couple of pivotal scenes between the two leads.
- Trailers from new Wolfe Movies: Bloomington, The Fish Child, The Green, Leading Ladies, A Marine Story and Elena Undone.
Unfortunately shortly after this film was made (early 2010), Tracy Wright lost her battle to pancreatic cancer. She died in June of 2010. She was a very underappreciated actress and a great loss to the community. It is interesting because they do touch on the fact that her character Vic too might be suffering from a similar fate. And truthfully, her performance (along with Molly Parker’s) is a great example of female kinship and chemistry.
However, the film is muddled in a haze of bad writing and faulty music choices. It is one long night of talking and very little playing. At least to this male reviewer, it does not make for a very good way to spend 78 minutes. The disc is okay at best, featuring average video, good audio and meager special features. If the viewer out there appreciates Tracy Wright’s work, I can certainly say to go get this one last hurrah. But other movie fans would best be served to stay away from this one unless you need something sappy for a Sunday night.