Friday, April 25, 2008

88 Minutes

There is a recent trend to blast Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro for their recent roles. Personally, I don't see it. Then again, I have never been a huge fan of The Godfather (1972) or Scarface (1983), for example. I find the first entertaining, the second pointless, and would take Meet the Parents (2000) over either of them...though the sequel was, in fact, a sequel.

Be that as it may, 88 Minutes (2008) has been roundly panned by numerous critics...these would be the same critics calling Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008) worth seeing. So I took a chance and went to see it.

Dr. Jack Gramm (Al Pacino) is an egomaniacal psychobabbler who will do just about anything to gain vicarious vengeance for the torture-murder of his sister when he went to defend his thesis. As a result, he falsified evidence to convict Jon Forster (Neal McDonough) of the torture- murder of Joanie Cates (Vickie Huang) and got Forster sent to death row.

Now, with Forster's execution date approaching copycat murders begin happening which cast doubt on the identity of the original murderer. Most troubling of all, some of the evidence at the new murders implicates Gramm.

As he begins trying to unravel the secret of who is making death threats to him various associates come under suspicion. Of course, the experienced movie-goer at this point starts looking for the twist; did Gramm indeed do the murders and frame Forster? Is it one of his students helping Forster? The school Dean? Is it his teaching assistant? His work assistant?

Well, in this case the twist is...there is no twist. Forster did, in fact, murder Cates and the student whom all the clues point to as being the outside help is, indeed, the outside help.

The ride to get there is entertaining. Sure, you have to ignore a few long each minute must be, why he does not simply turn over his information to the police, why the climactic scene she doesn't just shoot him before the 88 minutes are up...but it is all internally consistent.

Along the way there can be some doubt as to who is good, who bad, and why so it is definitely far better than the critics let on. It may not be a classic but it is a very watchable flick.

No comments: