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TRIBULATION

SYNOPSIS:
Tom Canburo (Gary Busey) is a happily married cop with no time for nonsense about the supernatural, whether it's the passionate religious beliefs of his sister Eileen (Margot Kidder) or the ramblings of his disturbed brother-in-law Jason, who's obsessed with the idea that if all the people on earth were to concentrate on a single thought, they could bend reality to their will. Jason's seeming madness reaches its peak when he throws a violent fit, starts babbling about 'haters,' and finally jumps out of a window. Simultaneously, on the other side of town, Tom is dealing with a violent incident caused by a lunatic who displays many of the same symptoms as Jason, as well as a paranormal ability to warp time and space. In hospital, Jason claims that he was possessed by some kind of demonic force. Tom starts to investigate, but almost at once he's knocked unconscious in a strange accident. He wakes up in a world very different from the one he left behind.


"On the surface, Tribulation is one of those exploitation thrillers that resemble garbled copies of real movies, as if (in keeping with its paranoid style) there were a coded message hidden behind its plot holes and non sequiters, or as if the script were written by aliens attempting to pass themselves off as human beings. The truth is more mundane but just as revelatory. Tribulation isn't an exploitation movie at all; it was financed and conceived as a piece of Christian propaganda. While this doesn't make the film any more watchable, it does put an interesting spin on its apocalyptic themes (otherwise as ho-hum as new episodes of the X-Files). The now subsiding 'millenial' fever that seized Hollywood a year or two ago produced a spate of movies drawing on Biblical or occult lore (Dogma, End Of Days, South Park) but none of these treated religion as more than a whimsical plot device.

Tribulation, by contrast, is a genuinely pious, believing film - though you do have to wonder how literally its allegory is intended. In the near future, it's suggested, ninety-five percent of the world's population will be ruled by the devil, with Christians reduced to a small band of rebel freethinkers pitted against a powerful, oppressive state: is this just a fantasy, or is it meant as a serious comment on our godless times? The main weapon of the true believers, rather charmingly, is their pirate TV broadcasting, periodically jamming the government-controlled airwaves with illicit programs that reveal the truth. Quite possibly there's an intended parallel with the filmmakers' own activities - by using thriller conventions to preach the word of the Lord, they aim to undermine Hollywood from within. An inept film made by cranks, Tribulation still left me feeling optimistic. If something like this can disguise itself as a B-movie and get a video release, who knows what else might be out there? Keep watching the shelves..."
Jake Wilson

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CRITICAL COUNT

Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

TRIBULATION (M)
(US)

CAST: Howie Mandel, Gary Busey, Margot Kidder

DIRECTOR: Andrew van Heerden

PRODUCER: Peter & Paul Lalonde

SCRIPT: Peter & Paul Lalonde

CINEMATOGRAPHER: George Jiri Tirl

EDITOR: Michael Doherty

MUSIC: Gary Koftinoff

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Ron A.W. Lee

RUNNING TIME: 103 minutes

AUSTRALIAN VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Tribe

AUSTRALIAN VIDEO RELEASE: November 15, 2000







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