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88 Minutes

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If the film hadn't touted director Jon Avnet's (Red Corner) name on the cover, I probably would've passed over this title. I actually had no idea who Avnet was, other than that he directed the new Al Pacino/Robert Deniro film Righteous Kill, which I've been curious about. I considered watching this DVD a test run for deciding whether to head to a theater soon or not.

High profile psychologist Dr. Jack Gramm (Pacino) almost single-handedly gets a serial killer convicted, but years later, just before the man is put to death, Gramm gets a disturbingly threatening phone call: he, himself, has only 88 minutes left to live. In just under an hour and a half, Gramm must solve the mystery of who's trying to do him in.

I've read books much like this film before. The story is interesting and the characters are intriguing, but the resolution and the eventual unveiling of the culprits are something of a disappointment. For the most part, Pacino coolly plays Gramm as the prima donna doctor who thinks nobody can touch him. The supporting cast is so-so, but the students he begins to suspect of his harassment are clearly nudged just a little too far toward edgy to seem believable.

This may not be the best suspense film in a long time, but it still plays like a decent mystery novel. And there's enough here to suggest Avnet's next project might be something special.

This video courtesy of Hollywood Video, 590 Broadway Ave., 208-342-6117.

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