Sunday, April 6, 2008

88 Minutes

88 Minutes had some serious potential. A real-time who-dunnit with Al Pacino in the lead. He was fine. He brought some depth to a character that could have ended up being terribly shallow. The rest of the movie, however, was simply poorly executed.

Dr. Jack Gramm (Pacino) a famous criminal psychologist is under the gun- literally and figuratively- on the execution day of a man he put behind bars. New evidence has arisen that the man may be innocent, not to mention a new murder with his MO. On top of Gramm's career being put in jeopardy, his life is being threatened. He receives an anonymous call informing him that he has 88 minutes left to live. Consequently, the movie from that point on is indeed 88 minutes. As if that isn't enough, evidence starts stacking up implicating him in these new murders. Definitely not Gramm's best day.

This premise has some real potential, but unfortunately it just didn't work. Maybe they were trying to cram too much in, with the real time gimmick, the threats on his life, the new murders, and the idea that the man on death row (Neal McDonough) may be orchestrating this from behind bars.

The other possibility may be that it got a little too absurd, with car bombs, unbelievable circumstantial evidence, and a legion of attractive students that seem to be caught up in this with him. It suffered the fate of another movie I thought had potential (and another one dealing with a number)- 8MM. It seemed like a cool idea, investigating the possible existence of snuff films. Unfortunately both of these movies got too caught up in the game they're creating, and lost sight of trying to make it believable.

Most of the movie plays like a genuine mystery, dropping clues that keep you trying to figure it out along with Gramm. Unfortunately, none of these really make a difference, and you can't possibly figure it out. And honestly, the answer left me unsatisfied and asking "huh?" Pacino is a badass as always, but manages to give his character twinges realism. You actually find yourself not really liking him, but understanding him.

Pacino commands everything he does, and this role isn't any different. If you like him, then see movie just for that. Don't expect too much, though, because the rest of the movie is fairly disappointing.


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