FILM REVIEW – ’88’ (2015)

Continuing her recent streak of stellar performances, Katharine Isabelle makes her return to the silver screen opposite co-star Christopher Lloyd in Canadian psychological thriller “88” – out now via Wango Films.

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official movie poster for “88” (courtesy of Wango Films)

Written by Tim Doiron and directed by April Mullen, “88” tells the fractured timeline story of Gwen/Flamingo, a young woman with a rare mental disorder who awakens in a roadside diner, with a missing finger, and a book bag containing several gum balls, a key to a hotel room, and a gun. Terrified, and with no idea how she got there, she inadvertently shoots and kills a waitress, which leads her into a whirlwind of bizarre happenings.

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With no memory of anything that has happened to her since awakening, and no idea how she got to where she is, Gwen experiences several disturbing flashbacks, and now finds herself hunted by both the police, and a mysterious crime boss named Cyrus (played by Christopher Lloyd). Rescued by her supposed partner-in-crime Ty (played by scriptwriter Tim Doiron), who knows Gwen as Flamingo, Ty attempts to help her remember everything that has happened, informing her that the two of them have been hunting Cyrus in a plot to kill him in revenge for Cyrus’ apparent murder of both Gwen/Flamingo’s fiancé, and Ty’s sister.

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Confused and more than a little disturbed, Gwen begins to put the pieces back together with the help of Ty, as the film jumps back and forth between timelines to eventually paint the picture of everything that actually happened over the course of the last few days. Seeming to find trouble and a fair amount of violence everywhere she turns, Gwen learns that she may be even more connected to Cyrus than either of the two fugitives knew.

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Continuously haunted by her own subconscious mind, and aided by the rapid-fire flashback sequences, it quickly becomes evident that Gwen’s mind has completely shattered, although it’s not clear until the very end of the film why. “88” is very careful in the way, to make sure to line up all the pieces of the puzzle perfectly, without ever giving too much away until the very end.

On the technical side of things, “88” features beautiful camerawork, flawless editing, and an excellent score, which are all aided greatly by the top-notch performances – particularly by Katharine Isabelle and Christopher Lloyd which given the chops of the cast, isn’t surprising, but is still very much deserving of a nod.

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Overall, “88” is just an outstanding effort all-around. The fast-paced action, rapid-fire timeline shifts, and steady levels of suspense throughout the film really keep viewers on the edge of their seats as the film tells the highly fractured, “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” story, which while somewhat confusing at times, is all wrapped up neatly at the end to cap off an expertly-crafted psychological thrill-ride. Highly recommended, particularly for those who love nothing more than a good “screw-with-your-mind” movie. This is one you’ll definitely not want to miss. – 8.5/10

-Dave Harlequin
Editor: Nerd Nation Magazine

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