Parents' Guide to

88 Minutes

By Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Serial killer thriller runs out of time, momentum.

Movie R 2008 108 minutes
88 Minutes Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 1 parent review

age 15+
No thank you.

Is It Any Good?

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Parts of the plot don't make much sense. Given how hectic his supposed last hour-plus on earth becomes, it's a good thing that Gramm has an able assistant, Shelly (Amy Brenneman), who keeps track of phone calls, gathers information, and sets up multiple media connections for him. Otherwise he wouldn't survive for 10 minutes, let alone 88. Though he insists he's grateful, Gramm remains annoyingly self-centered and sloppy in his own thinking -- usually his process is translated into clunky, sepia-tinted flashbacks so viewers can follow his process of putting together clues (most of which audiences will already have figured out). He badgers his students, repeatedly puts Kim in danger, and still finds time to help a little old lady -- apparently a sign of his compassion, but it's so incongruous that it seems silly.

But you can see how he might be confused, since Jon Avnet's movie piles on possible suspects while also granting Gramm a clichéd doozy of a motivating trauma: His little sister was brutally hacked to death when she was 12 and he was supposed to be looking after her. To underline his pain (or exacerbate viewers'), the film shows repeated close-ups from crime scenes -- bloody bodies, frightened faces, etc. The camera also tends to careen about, as if the jumpy footage will help convey the threat to Gramm (he's almost hit by a fire truck, he runs across campus and up staircases repeatedly, and he even yells like a crazy man on occasion, so that you'll remember he is, after all, Al Pacino). Still, his focus is Forster, who's up for the contest. They battle it out during a TV interview; Gramm determines to "Get inside his head, make him crack!" but only ends up spewing his own bad-TV version of a crack-up. Sadly, neither man comprehends the lunacy of the plot, leaving that awful knowledge for their audience.

Movie Details

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