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88 Minutes


Stars: Al Pacino, Alicia Witt, Amy Brenneman, Leelee Sobieski, Benjamin McKenzie, William Forsythe, Deborah Kara Unger, Stephen Moyer

Director: Jon Avnet

A really solid thriller, full of implausibilities you can happily ignore while you sit back and enjoy Pacino as Dr Jack Gramm, a college lecturer who doubles as a forensic psychologist for the FBI.

It's his evidence that convicts serial killer Jon Forster (Neal McDonough), but nine years later the case comes back to haunt him. New killings in similar fashion suggest that Forster may be innocent. Then Gramm gets a phone call, telling him he has 88 minutes to live. 'Tick tock, doc.' Can he find the killer before the killer finds him?

Suspects, mainly female, are thick on the ground. They include Gramm's pretty assistant (Witt), his seemingly devoted secretary (Brenneman), the girl he bedded the previous night (Leah Cairns), two know-all students (Sobieski, McKenzie) and a case-obsessed local cop (Brendan Fletcher). One is eliminated by turning up dead, but police pal Frank Parks (Forsythe) suspects that Gramm himself may be the killer.

This is pacy, hard-hitting stuff that runs like a superior episode of Law & Order, with the doc constantly being reminded by mobile how many minutes he has left to live. Don't dwell on the plot, which doesn't hold water for an instant, just go with the flow, relish Pacino's professional performance, and you'll have a cracking time - even if you spot the killer early.

David Quinlan

USA 2008. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Colour by FotoKem.
108 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 05 Oct 2008