"Hit and Miss"
What You Need To Know:
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.
(B, Ho, LLL, VV, S, NN, A, D, M) Light moral worldview in mystery story about bringing serial killer and his possible cohort(s) to justice, plus protagonist’s secretary says she is a lesbian and viewers see her with another woman in one scene; very strong foul language includes about 25 obscenities (including two or three possible “f” word), 12 strong profanities and eight light exclamatory profanities; strong violence with a few drips of blood shown in about three scenes includes serial killers shown cutting about two arms or legs of female victims with a line of blood dripping but movie otherwise just implies he has done worse things to them to kill them, serial killers drug women and then hang them from a ceiling or (in one case) a steel beam of a building, killer shot to death, car bombed and explodes, chase scenes, gunfire between killer and other people in one scene, and women has slight wounds from allegedly being mugged; implied fornication and implied homosexuality; brief rear and upper female nudity in two separate scenes, plus brief upper male nudity in one scene; alcohol use; smoking and women victims drugged; and, deceit and protagonist framed for murders.
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.
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.
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