88 MINUTES Add To My Top 10
Hit and Miss
Release Date: April 18, 2008
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 105 minutes
Distributor: TriStar Pictures/Sony Pictures Entertainment
Director: Jon Avnet
Writer: Gary Scott Thompson
Address Comments To:Michael Lynton, Chairman/CEO
Amy Pascal, Chairman - Motion Picture Group
Sony Pictures Entertainment
(Columbia Pictures/TriStar/Screen Gems/Provident)
10202 West Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232-3195
Phone: (310) 244-4000
Fax: (310) 244-2626
Web Page: www.spe.sony.com/
Al Pacino plays Dr. Jack Gramm, a celebrated forensic psychologist at a Seattle university who receives a cryptic phone call saying that he has only 88 minutes to live. Gramm thinks the person engineering the call is a brutal serial killer named Jon Forster that Gramm put in jail years ago. Forster faces state execution at midnight for his crimes. The discovery of two copycat murders puts Gramm’s testimony against Forster in doubt. Even worse, the killer has put evidence at the crime scenes linking Gramm to the new copycat murders. Gramm races to expose Forster’s link to the new crimes and stop the person who’s committing the crimes for Forster and framing Gram.
88 MINUTES suffers from too many characters and inconsistent direction and dialogue. For example, Gramm interacts with one of the murder victims before she dies as well as with two female graduate students, the female dean of his university department, and his female secretary. All of these women become part of the mystery surrounding Gramm’s phone calls and the new murders. And, one of the women has a jealous ex-husband who becomes part of the mystery. If that’s not enough, viewers learn that Gramm’s obsession with serial killers began when one serial killer murdered his younger sister. There is also a frenetic sub-plot involving Gramm’s FBI contact, who begins to doubt Gramm’s character. Some of the scenes between these characters are overwrought with sometimes-silly dialogue. The exciting finish almost makes up for these problems, but not quite.
Regarding the movie’s content, 88 MINUTES has plenty of strong foul language. There are also violent scenes with drips of blood of women being attacked, but the woman avoids extremely graphic images. The movie also implies an evening of sex between Dr. Gramm and the first female victim. That said, the movie’s protagonist, Dr. Gramm, is a man on a moral mission – to put serial killers in jail, preferably on death row. The movie leaves viewers guessing whether this is actually true, but, in the end, the movie sides with that moral position. Thus, 88 MINUTES has a light moral worldview, but not a religious one with references to God or Jesus Christ. All in all, therefore, viewers probably should exercise extreme caution when it comes to 88 MINUTES.
88 MINUTES is a hit-and-miss mystery thriller. It has an exciting finish, but the rest of the movie is all over the place, with some bad dialogue and superficial plotting. There are also too many characters and plot twists. Finally, although the movie sides with Gramm’s efforts to put serial killers in jail, preferably on death row, it contains disturbing violence, plenty of foul language, and brief nudity. Thus, viewers should exercise extreme caution. Please see Movieguide.org for more information.