88 – A fun, fast-paced revenge thriller
Writtenby : Tom Doiron and April Mullen
Directed by: April Mullen
Ever since the day a 19 year old me saw “Ginger Snaps” for the first time, Katharine Isabelle has been one of my favorite actresses. You know those actors/actresses you will see a movie they are in just because they are in it? Yeah… She is one of top ones on my list. After her insanely strong performance in the Soska sisters’ “American Mary” that fact is forever cemented. So when I saw that Netflix added “88” the other day, I was extremely excited to watch it and tell you all what I thought. So here goes nothing.
The movie begins by describing a fugue state. It is a psychological condition in which a traumatized person experiences lapses in both memory and intent of action. We then meet Gwen (Isabelle) although she doesn’t know that’s her name nor does she know why she is sitting in a diner and missing a finger. In panic, Gwen accidentally dumps her purse all over the place revealing a large gun. The employees and patrons (including three cops) begin to panic and in her shocked and confused state she shoots a waitress and makes a run for it. From this point on, the film bounces around between three time lines. The first is bits and pieces of what happened to put her in this state. The second is memories she has of good times with her boyfriend who she has discovered has been killed. The third is the present which follows her trying to unravel the mystery of what happened and what she plans to do about it.
Some viewers will be scratching their heads, because of the non-linear Memento-ish plot. I quite enjoyed it though. The way that co-writers Doiron and Mullen committed to never revealing more than Gwen’s traumatized mind can remember was a fun, unique spin on the genre. They also wrote a strong script which cleverly blends comedy, action, and suspense.
It was really fun watching Christopher Lloyd play a sadistic bad guy, and the supporting cast all do a solid job (co-writer Doiron plays the comic relief with a wonderful cheesiness). It is Isabelle who really hits a home run though. Her range and magnetic screen presence are used effectively, and she plays both scared and vulnerable and bad ass and sexy all in one neatly packaged performance. She is one of a handful of actresses who can make a good movie great, and she has yet to let me down.