A retired special operative who worked as part of an elite assassination team now spends his days reading books and drinking coffee, living in the small town of Bayfield, Ontario. Nicholas Shaw (Barry Pepper) wants to forget about his past life, but it won’t let him. When members of his former team are assassinated and Nicholas is blamed, his old life comes back to haunt him, putting him on the run to solve the mystery of who actually killed his teammates before it’s too late.
If this plot sounds like something you’ve seen before, it’s probably because you have – or at least a few dozen movies with very similar setups. Don’t let that fool you though, as what Trigger Point does with its somewhat generic premise is far more interesting than you might be led to believe. Notably the first major motion picture ever shot in the quaint little town of Bayfield (hometown of director Brad Turner), the film establishes a unique noir-influenced tone in its opening stages that feels quite distinct from its action movie trappings.
While the plot does ultimately hinge on some of your usual details, Michael Vickerson’s script is more interested in building this mystery from the characters outward, investing us in Nicholas and his relationships with his former teammate Elias (Colm Feore) and Elias’ daughter Monica (Eve Harlow). Trigger Point is more noir mystery than it is a Liam Neeson ripoff, and that makes for a unique viewing experience reminiscent of the kind of mid-level pictures that we hardly see anymore.
Incredibly shot in just 15 days (it doesn’t feel like it), Turner uses his decades of experience working in television on shows like 24 and Homeland to deliver sleek action sequences that stick with you long after the credits roll. Turner knows how to utilize location, avoiding the dull, recycled routine of warehouse shootouts or anonymous CGI blowouts that we see in every blockbuster put out these days. Instead, we get a magnificent, gorgeously framed setpiece among rows of greenhouses that is immediately striking to the eye, and a breathtakingly composed climax by Lake Huron.
That tactile nature is something that extends to the way our characters exist within the world as well. Everything in the movie feels more engaged because it’s all real, not utilizing CGI to try and exaggerate anything to give the audience an artificial “wow factor”. When his back is up against the wall, Shaw has to use his intelligence to manufacture a makeshift gun out of a plumbing pipe in a safe house to get out of a jam. It’s details like this that make Trigger Point last in your memory far more than your blockbuster of the week.
Turner, Vickerson, and the film’s producers designed the film as the beginning of a franchise that will continue following Shaw, something that’s clearly set up in the closing scenes that promise more adventures to come. The idea of getting to see a great actor like Pepper, who has impressed for so long as a character actor in supporting parts for movies as varied as Saving Private Ryan, 25th Hour, and True Grit, getting his own franchise with an action star role is certainly exciting. He brings his ever present commitment to the part, a crucial component of a film that leaves you wanting more.
Trigger Point will release in theaters on April 16th and on demand April 23rd