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Still courtesy of TIFF.


by Bruce McDonald (Canada, Special Presentations)

Bruce McDonald’s Trigger is a study of the tempestuous relationship between Kat and Vic, two childhood friends who had a falling out during their time as bandmates in a (titular) Toronto girl-rock duo. Kat has since moved to LA and become the type of TV producer who wears pink pumps and nine-hundred-dollar sweaters. Vic, played appropriately wry and weary by the late Tracy Wright, has remained in Toronto, where she leads a less moneyed, more music-focused life, while coping with the lingering aftereffects of her former heroin addiction. As the film opens, Kat has arrived in Toronto on business and the two women are meeting for the first time in what seems to have been years, over dinner.
It isn’t long before ghosts of Kat’s and Vic’s shared and very troubled past begin to resurface (sometimes in the form of a physical manifestation of Vic’s obnoxious, sneering, former-junkie self). The interpersonal dynamic careens accordingly from love, to neediness, to vituperation, and beyond. There’s some good music along the way, lots of sharp dialogue, and a hilarious cameo by Don McKellar.
Ultimately, though, Trigger‘s main interest is in investigating the ways a relationship fraught with contempt can still be tender, satisfying, and necessary for those involved. It avoids both nihilism and sentimentality, and the result is an emotionally honest film that’s a little dull by McDonald’s standards—like someone took Hard Core Logo and lit a scented candle in it.
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