88 Minutes (2007)

(spoilers and some NSFW images)

88 Minutes is a terrible movie, even more terrible for using an interesting concept and not only ruining it, but not really using it at all. If a movie tries to attempt being real-time, it should at least tell the audience that and not fill the movie with scenes of car drives. I mean, screw all of that, the movie is not real-time, it’s just a very stupid, very boring and very cheap thriller that makes no sense whatsoever and baffles you in all of its (accordingly more than 88) minutes. The acting is horrible, even Al Pacino sleepwalks through it as the protagonist. The directing is as amateurish as possible, the script is laughable, so the movie fails on every level. What works is that it makes you laugh unintentionally, like when Al Pacino pays a taxi driver to give him his taxi, but lets the driver sit in the back all the time or when during a dialogue scene the poster of a local improv troupe is featured prominently. As a bad movie, it’s somewhat recommendable because it’s really a different kind of bad and it wastes its actors (poor Deborah Kara Unger, having one of the most pointless roles I have ever seen) spectacularly.

But nothing tops the movie’s misogyny, its horrific portrayal of women that only knows three modes of showing them: as victims, as sex objects or as villains. They are either murdered or abducted, want to sleep with Al Pacino or turn out to be evil. There are so many female characters in this movie and they are all wrong. Kim Cummings (Alicia Witt) is one of Jack Gramm’s (Al Pacino) students and she wants to sleep with him (or is a victim). Shelly Barnes (Amy Brenneman) is his assistant and a lesbian, but if she wasn’t, she’d be with him. Carol Johnson (Deborah Kara Unger) is the university’s Dean and has nothing to do but look at Gramm seductively (or is a victim). Lauren Douglas (Leelee Sobieski) is another student who is shown as a victim most of the time and then turns out to be the villain. Saying this is not even a real spoiler, not because you can figure it out yourself, but because it makes no difference who it is. When she is revealed to be the evil mastermind, we don’t care, it could have been anyone to the same effect. Her motivation of helping a serial killer who likes to torture and slaughter women is questionable at best.

Anyway, instead of looking at more characters or dialogue, I invite you to see the cruel, sick world of 88 Minutes for yourself by giving you all the images I could find of women and the movie’s obsession with torture details, nudity, seductive poses and women in need of help. In fact, some images might look like Al Pacino attacks women, but he is supposed to rescue or comfort them then.

This is only the first 10 minutes of the movie full of stalking, torturing and killing.

This is Jack's life. Women who are basically strangers, dance around him naked and women who he comforts quite intimately.

Amy Brenneman's dialogue here is: "Milkmaid!"

More torture...

More women falling for Jack.

Laura (or Linda) beaten up and in need of help. By the logic of the film, she actually did that to herself.

More women rescued by Jack.

Some casual random undressing and posing because... Jack.

Another victim that is seen in dozens of shots in detail or in the background.

And the incredibly stupid and illogical finale with more women hanging upside down, beaten up, gagged, killed. That last image is somewhat symbolic of the movie, looking as if Jack is trying to strangle Kim, when he is in fact comforting her. But director Jon Avnet obviously doesn't know how to film women without making them look inferior or weak. Did he really make Fried Green Tomatoes all those years ago? Incredible. Anyway, I think the images speak for themselves. Ugh.