It’s hard to say what’s more glaring: Al Pacino’s fake tan or the enormous plot holes in this inept thriller.
Pacino plays Jack Gramm, a cocksure forensic psychiatrist who specializes in the serial killers. The film starts with a bit of torture porn—a masked killer slowly slices up one scantily clad twin while the other watches in horror. Fast forward to Gramm taking the stand, confidently telling the court that they’ve got their killer, Jon Forster. Forster, of course, maintains his innocence. However, the fact that Forster is played by Neal McDonough, whose preternaturally pale blue eyes pretty much limit him to villainous roles, is one clue that the guy might be guilty. The next clue? When convicted, he smiles a malicious, bad-guy smile, turns to Gramm and says, “Tick tock, Doc.”
Now it’s nine years later, the eve of Forster’s execution, and Gramm gets a phone call on his cell: “Tick tock, Doc. You’ve got 88 minutes to live.”
Gramm goes straight to the cops, where he explains what just happened, and they all sit around and wait for the killer’s next move, while assuring Gramm his safety. Wait . . .no. That’s not what happens.
What does happen is, Gramm tries to teach his university class, decides that one of his students may be Forster’s accomplice, and then goes on a wild goose chase around the city, doing lots of running up and down stairs and talking on his cell phone. (The helpful time check that the killer gives him—“76 more minutes, Doc. Tick tock”—seems hopelessly off. You find yourself thinking, “He did all of that in 12 minutes?”). There is also a tragic secret from Gramm’s past—the telling of which allows Pacino to get into full foaming-at-the-mouth mode—that relates, absurdly, to the film’s title.
The whole enterprise is so silly, so far-fetched, and so contrived, it’s an insult to forensic psychiatrists, serial killer movies, and tanning professionals the world over.