Mystery / Suspense

88 Minutes

Distributed By: Millennium Films

Reviewed by Justine Manzano

            Itís strange, I know, but I am not a great big Al Pacino fan, like the rest of the world seems to be.  I mean, donít get me wrong, heís played plenty of juicy roles and heís done a very good job playing them.  However, in my time as a movie watcher, all of the new stuff he came out with was in the midst of that period of time known as Al Pacinoís over-acting stage Ė most of which was spent with him screaming every one of his lines.  So, though his classics are, indeed, classics, I usually donít feel a great tug in my heart when a new Al Pacino trailer airs.  I sure didnít feel that tug when the trailer for 88 Minutes appeared, but my husband happens to be a huge fan of his (just my luck), so I found myself watching Pacinoís latest film. 

            88 Minutes is about forensic psychologist and professor in his field, Jack Gramm (Pacino, if I have to tell you, dig yourself out of that hole and get to movie-watching!) who is no stranger to high-profile murder cases and serious serial killers.  The movie begins and we immediately get to know Jack Ė he is a commitment-phobic, promiscuous, arrogant tough guy who recently testified in the murder trial of Jon Forster (Neil McDonough, Tin Man), and got him convicted for a slew of serial murders.  Shortly before Forster is to be executed for his crimes, Gramm receives a phone call, telling him he now had 88 minutes left to live Ė 88 minutes being a reference to the murder of Grammís younger sister by a serial killer he had helped to convict as a student.  As the threats continue, and a new murder that mirrors Fosterís murders surfaces, Jack begins to desperately search through a catalog of characters in a search to find the killer.  There is Shelly (Amy Brenneman, Private Practice, Judging Amy), his long-standing and trusted assistant, Kim (Alicia Witt, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, The Upside of Anger), his Teacherís Assistant, or his two brightest students, Lauren (Leelee Sobieski, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, The Wicker Man) and Michael (Benjamin McKenzie, The O.C.), any of whom, he suspects, could be manipulated into being controlled by Forster, who is trying to prove his own innocence from jail.  As Jack tries to solve the mystery, he quickly learns that he canít trust anybody, and that his time, may in fact, be up.

            Mostly, I liked this movie.  Pacino, surprisingly enough, managed not to overact and employed the appropriate amount of rage at the circumstances unfolding around him.  The mystery involved was intriguing and definitely involved a great deal of twists and turns.  I think I may have shouted out every possible scenario at one point or another throughout the movie.  Though my second guess was correct, I think that the fact that I made many other shots at the killer as the time progressed speaks to how good the twists and turns were in this movie.  One thing that did bother me Ė in the movie, Kim has a stalkery ex-boyfriend by the name of Guy LeForge.  This, by the way, is officially the worst name every invented for a movie character.  And the worst part of this is that his name was said without any separation.  Guy LeForge, Guy LeForge, Guy LeForge.  Whatever!  The writers clearly thought they had come up with the best name ever and felt the need to repeat it as much as possible. 

            All in all, it worked.  It was a good mystery, but it probably could have been better.  Either way, it wasnít worth a full theater admission price.  I would rent it or grab the DVD though Ė itís worth a watch.   


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