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88 Minutes (2008)

Review: written Jul 2009

Pedestrian, by-the-numbers thriller

88 Minutes (2008)

Al Pacino managed to sink below the depths of ‘acting on autopilot to ‘complete sleepwalking’ throughout this uninspired movie. Fitting, giving the title, that this is a case of plot by numbers.

Al Pacino is a forensic psychologist who gets a call telling him he has 88 minutes to live. Clues in the call tell him it is to do with a case from his past when his testimony was responsible for putting a man on death row. From there, we have predictable cat and mouse scenes, running around looking paranoid, head scratching and red herrings.. which all makes this sound more fun than it ultimately is. Don't get me wrong, as a time-passer this does the job - but if you figure out, as most people will, who the `mystery' killer is early on, the rest gets pretty mundane. Critically, the film can't make up its mind whether to try and be clever or not - it sets its stall as being all about this clever and insightful forensic psychologist, and bringing killers to justice through keenness of mind.. then in the same breath descends into schlocky running around and killing, with Pacino's character reduced to a leery old man completely lost and at the whim of the circumstances around him.

A wasted opportunity then, despite some interesting casting in the students Pacino is teaching.. here's hoping the cast, and I mean Pacino too, find some juicier roles in the future to help them shine.

This wasn’t the worst film of the year by far, but it's a shame to rent or buy this when there are so many superior thrillers out there.

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