My review of Bruce McDonald's Trigger is in this week's WE (WestEnder)
Starring Molly Parker, Tracy Wright
Directed by Bruce McDonald
There’s an emotional weight on Trigger’s substantial shoulders that’s felt in every frame of this intelligent, contemplative mini-masterpiece: This is co-star Tracy Wright’s last film. The beloved Toronto-based actress was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer in December 2009. By January 2010, director Bruce McDonald had assembled a cast and crew, and shot Trigger over just four weekends. Wright died that June.
Intimacy and urgency saturate every moment of this movie about former friends and bandmates reuniting for a tribute concert honouring women in rock. Over a decade ago, Kat (Molly Parker) and Vic (Wright) were Trigger, a wildly successful Toronto-based indie-rock band that, as explained through flashback, put the riot in the Riotgrrrl movement. Their artistic and personal relationships dissolved onstage in a massive blow-out, thanks to ego and addiction (Kat is a recovering alcoholic, Vic a former drug addict).
The tenuous reunion unfolds over one long evening as the pair rehash the minefield of their past while trying to make peace with who they have become. Kat, poised but insecure, left Toronto for a glamorous corporate job in L.A., while Vic, the more talented musician, continued to struggle with addiction but is finally recording again. They talk (a lot!), but there’s never a dull moment, thanks to a nuanced script by Daniel MacIvor, which negotiates the raw corners of regret with bitchy but funny frankness between old friends.
MacIvor, as ever, excels in communicating the complicated relationship between women (as evidenced by Ruby Slippers Theatre’s recent production of his play, A Beautiful View). He also provides some thoughtful commentary on aging, mortality, self-esteem, and reconciliation. Under Bruce McDonald’s surprisingly subtle direction, Parker and Wright play off each other beautifully, with Parker dutifully pulling back, letting Wright step into the spotlight one last time.