Trigger Point review – amnesia spy thriller that’s instantly forgettable

The “intelligence community” proves to be a misnomer on both counts in this dud round of a thriller. With a head-scratching heap of betrayals and double-crossings, and none of the operatives smart enough to see them coming, it doesn’t leave you brimming with confidence about national security. Mid-noughties intensity merchant Barry Pepper makes a fine action hero at 51. But veteran TV director Brad Turner’s big overarching conspiracy isn’t involving enough to give Trigger Point the Bourne-like kickback it wants.

Pepper plays Nicolas Shaw, a former employee of “the agency” (presumably the CIA) who has chosen the traditional cosy small-town hiding place beloved of all retired operatives. But after a spate of agents are offed by a mysterious bolero hat-wearing blonde, Shaw’s former partner Elias Kane (Colm Feore) tracks him down and asks him to locate Kane’s daughter Monica (Eve Harlow), another spook who’s now missing. Either Shaw – suspected of giving up these colleagues’ names under torture to a shadowy kingpin called Quentin – clears his name by cooperating, or his card will be permanently marked.

Led by the lean and loping Pepper, who adds excellent IT to the very particular set of skills required of the ageing butt-kicker, Trigger Point offers a reasonable degree of momentum – and an eye for abstract locations in which to best let this run free. Shaw’s preferred site for impromptu water torture is a huge barn set in a field of blazing orange corn stubble, and the climactic hostage extraction takes place in a stark complex of greenhouses.

But the film never really recovers from the scattered setup, spun out into a chain of arbitrary-feeling twists that feel more driven by contractual thriller expectations than any urge to deepen the characters. Caught in this tangle, Harlow’s Monica is almost redundantly passive, while Shaw’s amnesia is expedient plot fodder rather than a source of true vulnerability. Nor does this soulless clot of machinations work up an appetite for the sequels rather hopefully set up in the finale. It’s a bit like Burn After Reading minus the laughs.

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