1 hour, 48 minutes
R Restricted. Under 17 Requires Accompanying Adult.
for disturbing violent content, brief nudity and language.
DVD Features: Closed Caption; Alternate ending; commentary with director Jon Avnet; Director's Point of View - director Jon Avnet on the making of 88 Minutes and working with Al Pacino; The Character Within - Al Pacino discusses what it takes to create the perfect character.
Al Pacino ... Dr. Jack Gramm
Alicia Witt ... Kim Cummings
Leelee Sobieski ... Lauren Douglas
Amy Brenneman ... Shelly Barnes
William Forsythe ... Agent Frank Parks
Deborah Kara Unger ... Carol Johnson
Benjamin McKenzie ... Mike Stempt
Neal McDonough ... Jon Forster
On the eve of the execution of convicted Seattle killer Jon Forster (Neal McDonough "Minority Report"), another body is found dead matching his original modus operandi. The victim turns out to be one of the students of an FBI forensic psychiatrist and college professor Dr. Jack Gramm (Al Pacino "The Insider"), who was responsible for helping to put Forster in prison.
Before Jack has had a chance to properly process this information, he receives a call on his cell phone informing him that he has 88 minutes left to live. As the clock ticks down, Jack desperately tries to unravel the mystery surrounding the threat and figure out who is out to get him.
The thriller directed by Jon Avnet ("Up Close and Personal") is fairly exciting for the first 45 minutes as Jack is progressively and dangerously toyed with by an unseen assailant and virtually anyone around him is set up as a potential villain. An extended sequence set in the college car park following a campus bomb threat is especially tense and well-constructed, while Jack's paranoia is getting the best of him.
By the time Jack has called upon his teaching assistant Kim Cummings (Alicia Witt "Vanilla Sky") to help him in his investigation, the movie starts spinning its wheels. In the second hour, with about thirty minutes left until zero hour, it really becomes inane as Kim spend precious minutes making small talk with Jack about why he never got married or had kids, and the climax in which the bad guy is revealed is totally predictable.
Beside a ridiculous hair-do, Al Pacino ("Ocean's Thirteen") is fine as Dr. Jack Gramm and Amy Brenneman ("The Jane Austen Book Club") is also good as Jack's devoted assistant, making the most of a minor role. The rest of the supporting cast Alicia Witt, Leelee Sobieski ("The Wicker Man") as one of Jack's students, and Deborah Kara Unger ("White Noise") as the college dean, are all given the unhappy task of trying to appear suspicious whenever they appear.
While you might be mildly involved in the high-stakes, life-or-death proceedings, it all adds up to not much more than a series of cell phone calls, which grow increasingly tedious as the running time stretches to an underwhelming finale.