REVIEW: 88 (2014)

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88 (2014)

Canadian thriller opens with a young woman named Gwen (Katharine Isabelle) suddenly finding herself in a diner and having no recollection of how she got there. There is also a gun in her bag and an unfortunate set of circumstances find a waitress shot and Gwen being pursued by the police. Now the young woman is on the run trying to remember who she is, how she got in this mess and why the number 88 is apparently very important to her. With some sporadic memories returning to her, the young woman realizes that her past…and future… involve murder, death and a quest for revenge.

I liked this crime thriller well enough. All the flashing back and forth in time does get a bit tiring after the first hour and sometimes it’s a bit too over-stylized for it’s own good but, overall it is still fairly entertaining. The story by Tim Doiron is nothing new. We have seen thrillers involving memory loss before and certainly, in the age of Tarantino, have seen many a quirky, stylish tale of unsavory types and abundant bullets and bloodshed. But, director April Mullen does a decent enough job of keeping things moving and keeping us guessing as Gwen tries to piece her head back together and figure-out why she is heavily armed and missing a pinky finger. Again, nothing trend-setting and nothing we haven’t sat through before but, it is involving enough, though, I did guess where it was heading long before we get there. The biggest reason to watch is to see star Isabelle in a strong turn as Gwen. She does a nice job conveying the current confusion of her character, as well as, the different personas she takes on, as we flash back and forth to the different points in time that lead her to where she is now. Isabelle is a sexy leading lady and she can be confused victim and vicious killer from one scene to the next and it really makes this far more worth watching than it might be otherwise. It was also cool to see Christopher Lloyd in a strong role, once again, as a crime boss name Cyrus who figures heavily in Gwen’s fate and Michael Ironside as a cop on Gwen’s bloody trail. Nice to see veterans like this playing something other than goofy old men.

In conclusion, this is not a great movie. “Hip” crime thrillers like this are a dime a dozen these days, but, a strong performance by it’s leading lady and some stylish direction make it watchable and enjoyable enough. It isn’t very original and it isn’t overly memorable, but, it is intriguing enough to keep one involved. We get strong parts for veterans like Christopher Lloyd and Michael Ironside and there are enough bullets and blood to keep one from getting too worn out by all the jumping back and forth in time. A decent, if unremarkable flick.

2 and 1/2 gum-ball machines.

movie 88 rating

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