Taglines: Time is running out.
An unknown intruder broke into the sisters’ apartment to brutally deal with Janie Cates. He hangs the body of a young girl upside down with climbing equipment. The psychopath decides to take the girl’s life with precise movements of the scalpel. Her twin sister is going through the death of the closest person in the world. As a result, the FBI officers manage to catch the criminal who committed this act. The evidence of the man’s involvement in this crime is the professional opinion of Jack Gramm, who is engaged in forensic psychiatry. A clear balanced theory is being built, with the help of which it is possible to form a chain of certain evidence.
When a jury passes a conviction during a trial, the fate of the criminal is a foregone conclusion. On the eve of his execution, a crime occurs in Seattle that completely coincides with the previous one. A video recording of the execution of a young student appears, and the investigation becomes deadlocked as the system becomes incompetent. The ill-wisher says that the doctor has only 88 minutes to live, he speaks about this via the selector using a mobile connection. The man worked as a teacher at a university, and was not taken aback. He decided to accept the challenge of the criminal, who decided to test his courage and will to live.
Creators: Gary Scott Thompson
Director: Jon Avnet
Star Cast: Al Pacino, Alicia Witt, Leelee Sobieski, Amy Brenneman, Deborah Kara Unger, Benjamin McKenzie, Neal McDonough
Producer (s): Jon Avnet, Randall Emmett, Gary Scott Thompson
Cinematographer: Denis Lenoir
Production House: Nu Image, Millennium Films, Equity Pictures Medienfonds GmbH & Co. KG III, Brightlight Pictures
Music: Edward Shearmur
Original network / Official Sites: TriStar Pictures
Release Year: 18 April 2008 (USA)
Runtime: 108 min
Genres: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Country: USA, Germany, Canada
In 1997, Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Jack Gramm (Al Pacino) testifies at the trial of suspected serial killer Jon Forster (Neal McDonough), dubbed “The Seattle Slayer” by police. Gramm’s testimony and expert psychiatric opinion are crucial in the conviction of Forster for the attempted killing of Janie Cates (Tammy Hui) and the murder of her sister Joanie (Vicky Huang), who was drugged, hanged upside down and killed after the killer invaded the sisters’ apartment. Upon receiving a guilty verdict from the jury, Forster taunts Gramm, saying “Tick-tock, Doc.”
Nine years later, as Forster’s execution date approaches, several similar torture murders occur. Gramm, now teaching at the University of Washington, is questioned by a lawyer from the Attorney General’s office as well as FBI Special Agent Frank Parks (William Forsythe). The latest victim, Dale Morris (Kristina Copeland), is revealed to be a former psychology student of Gramm’s; they attended the same party the night before. On the way to his class, Gramm receives a phone call from someone using a voice changer, informing him that he has 88 minutes to live. He reports the call to his secretary, Shelly (Amy Brenneman), asking for a risk assessment profile of suspects.
Gramm receives another phone threat while teaching and becomes suspicious of his students, particularly Mike Stempt (Benjamin McKenzie). The Dean of Students, Carol Johnson (Deborah Kara Unger), interrupts the class to report a bomb threat. Evacuating, Gramm finds threats written both on the classroom’s overhead projector and on his car, which has been vandalized in the parking garage. Gramm is then met by his teaching assistant, Kim Cummings (Alicia Witt), who offers to help find the perpetrator. In the stairwell, Gramm encounters one of his students, Lauren Douglas (Leelee Sobieski), attacked by an unknown assailant and reports the assault to campus security.
Gramm and Kim go to his condo, where a package has been delivered. The package contains an audio tape of his kid sister, Kate (Victoria Tennant II), crying for help before being murdered. Gramm concludes that someone accessed his secure files to obtain the tape. Kim’s ex-husband, Guy LaForge (Stephen Moyer), appears with a gun at the apartment door, but is shot and killed from behind by an assailant masked by a motorcycle helmet. A fire alarm is triggered by the sudden onset of smoke and the shooter flees through the crowd outside. Shortly after, Gramm’s car explodes, having been rigged with a bomb.
Renting a cab, Gramm explains to Kim that his sister was killed decades earlier, when he left her alone in his apartment; the crime took exactly 88 minutes. Next, Gramm and Kim visit Sara Pollard (Leah Cairns), a woman Gramm slept with the night before, but find her murdered in her apartment with evidence incriminating Gramm. Carol calls Gramm and makes comments suggesting that she is the killer, demanding that Gramm meet her at his office. Shelly arrives at Sara’s apartment and advises Gramm that she suspects Lauren was the one who stole the audio tape of Kate’s death. Kim disappears from the apartment and later calls Gramm with a threat similar to Carol’s, also demanding he meet her at the office.
Through prison visitation records, Gramm deduces that Forster’s appeals attorney “Lydia Doherty” is a pseudonym for Lauren, surmising that she set up the frame on orders from Forster. Kim calls again, instructing Gramm to come to another nearby location on campus, where he finds Carol hanging over a seventh floor balcony; Kim is tied up and gagged nearby, held at gun point by Lauren. Lauren forces Gramm to “confess” on tape that he gave false testimony at Forster’s trial. Special Agent Parks arrives and shoots Lauren, causing both Carol and Lauren to partially fall from the balcony. Gramm saves Carol from completing the fall, but Lauren comes loose and plummets to her death. When Forster calls asking to speak with Lauren, Gramm informs him of Lauren’s death. He quips “Tick-tock, tick-tock, you got 12 hours to live” before throwing the phone into the void. Gramm flashes back to interactions with Kate and Janie Cates, then pockets the device that recorded his “confession”. He shares knowing glances with Parks and Kim before walking away.