88 is literally, purposefully disjointed and disconnected, which makes it both a suspenseful and frustrating watch for the viewer, not to mention a tough slog for the lead heroine.
Gwen really has no idea what is going on. She is at a café one moment, and the next, she has shoot a waitress and is running from the cops in a car of some man who seems to know her. Thus begins a kinetic, often absurd action adventure that endears itself to the catalog of the memory thriller, a mystery that slowly being pieced together.
It’s not all necessarily for the better, but thankfully the captivating Katharine Isabelle is in the lead, an actress who is easy to root for even if her character is highly questionable. Gwen is completely lost, because as we glean from an introductory memo on screen fro director April Mullen, some people enter fugue states where they lose control of their identity. Gwen is one of those people.
The open scene makes that clear – it also makes clear that this film is going to run the gamut of ridiculous, with gangsters and police officers who can’t hit anything they shoot at, and lots of young men who end up dead in the path of Gwen. One of those is her boyfriend; we know he is dead, we just don’t know who killed him, and so Gwen is on a path of vengeance as well.
At least sometimes. With flashbacks and so many fugue states, 88 is sometimes rather confusing, less calculating and more slipshod. That doesn’t mean it’s not some silly fun though. There is a milk motif that gives peculiar pause (it’s hard to explain), and a scene-chewing villain played by Christopher Lloyd, as well as a reckless energy that hits the mark every so often while always making a mess.
Isabelle is the right actress to build this crazy story around, a woman whose can transform the look in her eyes from helpless to murderous in a split second. 88 runs that many minutes, and doesn’t always add up, moving towards a predictable end, but has some fun along the way.