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88 Minutes

3 out of 5 stars 133 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A college professor (Al Pacino), who moonlights as a forensic psychiatrist for the FBI, receives a death threat that says he has only 88 minutes to live. To save his life, he must use all his skills and training to narrow down the possible suspects, which include a disgruntled student, a jilted former lover and a serial killer on death row.


Al Pacino looks startled through much of 88 Minutes, as though taken by surprise at being cast in a thriller that must've first passed across the desks of Clint Eastwood and Harrison Ford. Still, Pacino brings his usual oomph to the role of a Seattle forensic psychiatrist, whose testimony secured the death sentence for a crazy serial killer (Neal McDonough). Wouldn't you know it, the very day the killer is sentenced to die, a copycat "Seattle Slayer" is on the loose, and Pacino starts getting ominous phone calls telling him the exact time of his own death. Tick tock: it's 88 minutes away. The film then serves up more red herrings than a Stalingrad fish fry, as possible culprits pop up every five minutes or so (among them an attractive group of med-school students played by Alicia Witt, Leelee Sobieski, and Benjamin McKenzie). Lapses in logic abound, but if you hunker down and zone in on Pacino's weary-eyed, poufy-haired professionalism, you can enjoy the goings-on. (They even make him run up flights of stairs, which one would have thought beyond him now.) Seattle's frequent stunt double, Vancouver, B.C., stands in as a location, and Jon Avnet supplies the slick direction. The cast is talented (including Amy Brenneman), leading you to guess that a lot of people will do anything just to work with Al Pacino. And you've got to admire Pacino's chutzpah at sharing the screen with statuesque actresses such as Brenneman and Sobieski; they tower over him, but he still holds his own. --Robert Horton

Stills from 88 Minutes (click for larger image)

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Amy Brenneman, Benjamin McKenzie, Stephen Moyer, Brad Turner, Michael Adamthwaite
  • Directors: Jon Avnet
  • Producers: Jon Avnet, Randall Emmett, Gary Scott Thompson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, English
  • Dubbed: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 16, 2008
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001C5LLLY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #115,128 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "88 Minutes" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
88 Minutes is a tried and true "whodunit" shock/thriller clone that may entertain briefly but is at best a guilty pleasure. The story is a Hollywood teaser line: A renown forensic psychologist (Pacino) testifies against a serial killer and then 9 years later on the day of the killer's execution gets a phone call that he has 88 minutes to live.

This may be enough to get Hollywood producers frothing at the mouth and shelling out money, but this is a classic case of a movie that should have stayed a trailer-- the concept fits best into a 30-second package. Watching this movie is like eating a stale doughnut: You see it in the box with all of yesterdays crumbs and think, "That can't be very good, but I want it." You eat it. And then you regret it until the next stale doughnut comes along.

There are 3 main problems to this movie:

1. Pacino plays Pacino: Like Harrison Ford and Clint Eastwood, Al Pacino is getting old (sorry, but it's true). This movie showcases that by juxtaposing him with a class of young co-eds that he supposedly teaches psychology to and having him flirt with them in a decidedly "dirty old man" way. Never in this movie do you think "This is Dr. Gramm, the brilliant and famous forensic psychologist." No, this is Al Pacino stumbling around and yelling into a cell phone every five minutes. As the plot unfolds (more on that later), Pacino combats the killer with cantankerous "hoo-ha!" instead of a psychologist's keen insight. And after the movie nobody even remembers his character's name; it's just Pacino. That might be ok, except that it's an old, grumpy Pacino who refuses to be filmed opposite a female over the age of 25.

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Format: DVD
About the most complex contribution Jon Avnet's 88 Minutes makes is that it somehow manages to be both predictable and surprisingly disappointing. Writer Guy Scott Thompson, whose other contributions include the TV show Knight Rider (2008), provides a fairly simple plot involving a highly successful celebrity psychiatrist (celebrity in that he's well-esteemed in his small Seattle pond, not celebrity in that he councils the rich and famous) who is slowly stalked (via cell phone!) by a creepy techno-altered voice that may or may not be coming from a copy-cat killer. Pacino, who is entirely miscast here, approaches his Dr. Gramm as if to say, I have played this character a thousand times. Now, what's my line? Typically he is stimulating and brings energy to even the most 2-dimensional roles, yet here he seems only exhausted and disheveled.

Dr. Gramm, despite being quite successful profiling crime scenes and serial killers, has terrible boundaries with his students. He flirts with them, drinks with them, and is out one night with them at a bar celebrating the fact that a serial killer (Neal McDonough) he helped send to death row has lost an appeal for clemency. Soon someone is dead and then we all arrive with Pacino staring out at his classroom, wondering which one of the clean-cut, pretty, model-like actresses is the killer.

It isn't long before we have car explosions and lots of people, including the unknown techno-voice killer, scrambling around and haunting each other on the phone. People jump from behind dark corners in garage stairwells, cryptic taunts miraculously appear, and then characters seem to suddenly get invented and written into the script for no other reason than to serve as "yet another unexpected suspect" who we all know didn't really do it.
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I am a little surprised to see "88 Minutes" theatrically released in America. The film also managed to reach No.4 at the box office chart. After all the film has Al Pacino, perhaps the only reason the film didn't go straight to DVD. But maybe it should have.

"88 Minutes" starts with one unnecessary murder scene and one insipid courtroom scene after that, both of which would tell us what kind of film we are going to see. A "killer" Jon Forster (Neal McDonough) is caught, and in his trial Al Pacino's character forensic psychiatrist and college professor Dr. Jack Gramm gives a testimony, which decides the fate of the accused - death sentence. Unfortunately, nothing is believable, convincing and most importantly thrilling in this terribly directed opening part.

And the film gets worse from there. Cue to nine years later. Jon Forster is going to be executed today, but another murder (with a similar MO and a video tape, too) shocks the authority. Then Jack, who believes it is a copycat case, receives a threatening call telling he has only 88 minutes left to live (accompanied with "tick-tock"). The persistent messages never stop (some of which Jack receives in written form) and Jack starts to take them seriously.

Sadly, none of us would because of the film's utter silliness. I cannot write in detail here, but things get more and more preposterous as the contrived story goes on. I know any thrillers need suspension of disbelief, but mine just ran out when I saw overacting Al Pacino's character running wild holding a gun in the city of Seattle. Also, according to the conclusion, the criminal (or criminals?) are so smart and resourceful like John McClane that almost anything is possible.
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