Someone really should keep Al Pacino away from director Jon Avnet. The star of Sea of Love and Carlito’s Way has struck up an unfortunately productive relationship with the hack director of Red Corner and Up Close and Personal. Avnet recently reteamed Pacino with DeNiro for current release Righteous Kill, a non-event predated by this equally drab Seattle-based thriller.
Summoning all the energy of a flickering candle, Pacino plays Jack Gramm, a forensic scientist who finds himself framed for murder by an unseen opponent. Given 88 minutes to prove his innocence and unmask the real culprit, Pacino wearily scrambles between police, suspects and a Death Row killer Jon Forster (Neal McDonough) to clear his name.
At his best, Pacino can lift such silliness, but the star sleepwalks through this role; a scene in which Gramm reveals his mournfulness about the death of his sister is so casually underplayed that Pacino might as well have been reminiscing about a missed dental appointment. With a ludicrous cheesy cliffhanging climax, 88 Minutes is rank codswallop that’s particularly unpalatable to anyone who wants to remember Pacino as a screen giant rather than the old ham he’s turning into.
On general release from 3 Oct.