Cast: Al Pacino, Leelee Sobieski, Alicia Witt, Benjamin McKenzie
Director: Jon Avnet
Rated: R, for some violent scenes, brief nudity and adult language
Al Pacino stars in 88 Minutes, a film based exclusively on the character Dr. Jack Gramm (Pacino), a university professor and forensic psychiatrist who works for the FBI. One day after class, he receives a death threat telling him he only has 88 minutes to live. Who’s threatening him and why she or he wants Gramm dead are mysteries the protagonist has to solve before the 88 minutes are up, or else he’s dead.
The plot is intriguing, but poor editing and old-fashioned music make 88 Minutes feel more like television than cinema. In fact, the film would fit right in with popular ’80s TV shows like Hill Street Blues and Magnum P.I., or even today’s crime series, like CSI, Without a Trace and The Closer.
Director Jon Avnet has done films like Fried Green Tomatoes and Up Close and Personal, but he’s better-known as one of the most talented producers in television. Avnet doesn’t seem to have the originality and artistic abilities to translate his television savvy on the big screen.
As a result, the movie is predictable and monotonous. Its only redeeming characteristic is Pacino, who always grips the audience with his charisma and unique style. Unfortunately, his presence wasn’t enough to make 88 minutes worth my time.