Already released on DVD in Brazil, Russia, Netherlands, Austria, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Hungary, '88 Minutes' marks a very bad two weeks for star Al Pacino and director Jon Avnet at Irish cinemas. Last week we had Pacino starring opposite Robert De Niro in Avnet's potty-training thriller 'Righteous Kill' and now comes an even worse whodunit where you don't even have the consolation that it lives up to its title. If in some parallel universe the world's banking system depended on this film, we'd all be bartering with pebbles.
Pacino plays Jack Gramm, a forensic psychiatrist who is an expert witness in murder cases and enjoys a high media profile from his work. When Jon Forster (McDonough), a serial killer who Gramm helped to convict, is just hours from execution the doctor is told that one of his students has been found murdered - the news is then followed by a phone call telling him he has 88 minutes to live.
When first announced, '88 Minutes' sounded intriguing, a mixture of breakneck speed, mounting suspense and Pacino as the man under the cosh. What's ended up on the screen is messy (editing and pacing), ridiculous (a serial killer whose tools of the trade include 'no rush' winches and mountaineering ropes,) and overflowing with lines to make you wince. If you're in the mood for clangers you'll have your fill, with Pacino's "There’s been a breach in my most secure area" and Witt's "What's going to happen next?" among the 'highlights'.
With just two months to go, this is a serious contender for the year's worst movie. It's incredible to think that Pacino read the script and took a shine to it - so much so that if you ever met him in a lift and had the chance to fire off one question, it mightn't be about 'The Godfather', 'Dog Day Afternoon', 'Glengarry Glen Ross' or 'Heat' but could be: 'Here, Al, what about '88 Minutes'?'.