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Saturday, May 09, 2015

Sean Kelly

Indie Spotlight: 88

88A woman seeks revenge while under a fugue state in 88.  Gwen (Katharine Isabelle) finds herself in a diner with no knowledge with how she got there.  It turns out that Gwen went into a fugue state after the murder of her boyfriend and she developed an alterego named Flamingo.  The action switches between Gwen’s present and fugue states as she sets out to get revenge against her former boss Cyrus (Christopher Lloyd).

88 is time-shifting revenge thriller from the Wango Films duo of director April Mullen and writer/producer Tim Doiron (Dead Before Dawn 3D).  88 has a plot structure not unlike Memento, with the film swapping back and forth between two timelines, representing Gwen’s present and fugue states.

88 is built entirely on the performance by Katherine Isabelle, who is essentially playing two separate characters.  In her present state, Gwen is confused and scared and is trying to piece together what is going on.  On the other hand, “Flamingo” is a much more confident individual, who isn’t afraid to act out in violence.  The fugue state also results in a number of recurring motifs for Gwen/Flamingo, including her always ordering glasses of milk and an obsession with the number 88, which is where the film gets its title.

After having a small role in Wango Films’ previous feature Dead Before Dawn 3D, Christopher Lloyd is heavily featured in 88 as its primary antagonist Cyrus.  This is most definitely not a “Doc Brown” performance for Lloyd, who plays Cyrus as a very conniving and sinister character, who just chews the scenery whenever he is on screen.  Michael Ironside also appears in the film as Sheriff Knowles, who is on the trail of Gwen, after her vengeful acts.  In addition, April Mullen and Tim Doiron both appear in the film as supporting characters, with Doiron’s character of Ty being almost a comic sidekick for Gwen.

For the most part, I have to say that 88 is a pretty solid revenge thriller.  The film is definitely a departure for Wango Films, who have been known primarily for comedies up to this point.  While there is some comedy present within 88, the film is much more of a gritty and violent affair.  While I do have to admit that I was able somewhat predict how the plot of the film was going to turn out, I still have to say that I overall enjoyed the film.

While 88 probably doesn’t have the most original plot, it still has memorable performances by Katherine Isabelle and Christopher Lloyd and is overall a well-made revenge thriller.

★ ★ ★ ★ | LIKED IT

88 is playing this week at Cineplex Yonge and Dundas and will be available in Canada on DVD/Blu-Ray on June 9.

Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).