Friday, April 11, 2008



Al Pacino, Amy Brenneman, Alicia Witt, Leelee Sobieski, William Forsythe, Neal McDonough

"He has 88 minutes to solve a murder. His own."

The one thing that stuck in my mind after I viewed this film was how much running poor Al Pacino had to endure for almost 108 minutes. Alright so he wasn't running during the entire film!

The premise itself had potential. Jack Gramm (Al Pacino), a college professor is also a forensic psychiatrist for the FBI. He is consulted on a series of copycat murders. But as the case drags on, it appears he may be a suspect in these cases. To make matters worse, he has been receiving scrambled phone calls from someone who has issued a death threat against him. Thus the title "88 minutes" that's how long the caller has given him to live.

The film allegedly unfolds in the same time frame as the title. Although we don't really get the real sense of the time since it isn't flashed on screen. It is merely brought up in the dialogue. The beginning where we are introduced to all the key players moves at a steady pace. Towards the middle part, you are still drawn in. You try to keep a keen interest as the case unravels. You too get caught up in the game of pinpointing who is the culprit. Then it goes downhill from there. The plot gets scattered. There are too many subplots and dare I say characters all pieced together. You begin to lose focus. At this stage, you might already have figured things out. Or you may not. Or you simply stop figuring things out and just watch for the heck of it. It all builds up towards a rather flat ending which doesn't sink in too well with your senses. You shrug and go oh is that it?

The cast has some familiar faces with mostly actresses reigning. Well I mean in terms of numbers. You have Amy Brenneman, Alicia Witt, Leelee Sobieski in supporting roles. I'm sure they were just so humbled to be working with the Al Pacino. They didn't mind that the script was mediocre. The other actor who deserves a mention is Neal McDonough as the killer behind bars who has an axe to grind with Jack Gramm. This brings us to the main star of the film. The indefatigable Al Pacino who does carry the entire film on his drooping shoulders. His role as the tough forensic expert with a past violent family history which makes him vulnerable both as a person and a cop is believable. The fact that he has to run most of the time might have taken its toll on his aging frame. But he has still has it in him to please the audience with his expressive acting skills in this film. He is the main or should I say the only draw to this lackluster film.

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