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Davis, California

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Review: 88 Minutes


Directed by Jon Avnet

Millennium Films




“Tick tock,Doc,tick tock.This Seattle-based murder mystery stirs the blood and startles the senses with its time sensitivity,but lacks the intellectual analysis that seems appropriate for a movie with a forensic psychiatrist as the lead character (Al Pacino).

Jon Forster (Neal McDonough)known as the“Seattle Slayer,is sentenced to death row by Dr.Jack Gramm’s (Pacino) testimony to a jury based solely on circumstantial evidence.Nine years later and12hours before Forster’s execution,Gramm receives a phone call from adigitallyaltered voice telling him he has88minutes to live.

The audience does not find out the significance of88minutes until much later in the film.Upon this revelation,the viewer isin for a much-needed mental exercise toreview the events thus far and piece together how murders identical to theSeattle Slayer’skeep occurring.

The action in88Minutes generates a high level of thrill,which assures satisfaction to those lookingfor a jump in their blood pressure.However,the film lacks the criminal analysis that seems imperative,given Gramm’s expertise as a professor and scientist.

Pacino’s character portrays contradicting personality traits that do not coincide.On one hand,his womanizing and tough-guy traits make him a threat.But once his life starts to spiral out of control,his tough exterior melts away,leaving onlya vulnerable,frazzled old man.

It can be assumed that a forensic psychiatrist employed with the FBI would have more macho man power than the troubled,mentally unstable character Pacino plays.

The unique plot of88Minutes makes this thriller worth watching.The twisted,surprise ending may also cause you to reflect on your own capabilities to resist mental manipulation.But for those who want to shut off their brains while watching a movie,this film does involve a fair amount of thinking,as Pacino does not do much of it.


June Quan


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