88 Minutes

May 24, 2009 - Al Pacino has 88 minutes to solve his own potential murder or face becoming the next victim of a serial killer. Alicia Witt, Amy Brenneman and Leelee Sobieski co-star. Neal McDonough, who recently played the creepy, vengeful neighbor on Desperate Housewives, plays the creepy, vengeful serial killer.

Pacino is Jack Gramm, a forensic psychiatrist who teaches at a university in Seattle and consults for the FBI on the side. Several years ago, he gave key testimony that led to a death sentence for serial rapist and killer Jon Forster (McDonough). As the movie opens, Forster's execution is set to be carried out, but the discovery of another murder that fits his M.O. casts doubt on his guilt and on Gramm's testimony.

Confident that this latest crime is the work of a copycat or a disciple of Forster's, Gramm heads to teach his class at the university. That's when he receives a call from a disguised voice telling him that he has 88 minutes to live. Tick tock, Doc. Pacino spends the rest of the movie going from here to there and back again in an attempt to find whoever is making the morbid phone calls.

Overall review: ** For a movie that should have – you would think – moved along at a frenetic pace, it felt rather slow. Maybe that's because Pacino’s character never really acts as though his life is in danger. For a guy who may have only 88 minutes to live, he is remarkably calm. He even takes time to call a cable network that was doing a live death row interview with Forster. Really, the only ones who seem freaked out by the situation are Gramm's teaching assistant (Witt) and his secretary (Brenneman).

One other thing. The film's title may be 88 Minutes, but the actual running time is 108 minutes. Tick tock, Doc.