All great actors have films they’d rather forget, and Al Pacino isn’t exempt from starring in his share of embarrassments; kudos to the Pacinophiles who brave Revolution or Two for the Money and still retain their fandom. Now that this stupendously inept serial-killer flick has slithered into theaters, the diminutive legend had better clear room in his closet for another cinematic skeleton. Notice how we didn’t call the movie a thriller, as that would suggest there were actual thrills in store. All you’ll get out of this disaster is slack-jawed amazement that everyone involved could keep a straight face.
As hotshot forensic psychiatrist Jack Gramm, Pacino—armed with a three-inches-high-and-rising bouffant—is told via cell phone that he’s got a limited time to live (see title). The threatening calls are payback for putting a murderer (McDonough) on death row, as well as a convenient excuse for Gramm and his luxurious coif to run around Seattle. As for Pacino’s personal agenda, it primarily involves the star testing his Pixies School of Acting technique (go instantly from soft whisper to banshee scream) against a host of unlucky B actors.
Compared with Jon Avnet’s barely functional directing and the ripened dialogue, Pacino’s phoned-in turn hardly qualifies as a cardinal sin. Yet the former poster boy for Method intensity is testing his luck; car wrecks like these can maim even the sturdiest of screen phoenixes. Given its star treatment here, however, his hair still has a bright future.
Cast and crew
Deborah Kara Unger