88 Movie Review
By: Justin Hopkins
So, I decided to mix things up, just a little bit. Up until this point, have mostly kept this series to B movie horror, but the action genre has some gems just waiting to be stumbled upon. Checking through the list, 88 jumped out to me right away. Mostly, because I am a big fan of Katharine Isabelle. The synopsis sounded promising and was sure this would be perfect. Wow, this movie was really something else. Let’s jump right into this one and I will do my best to make heads and tails of this rather interesting film.
88, starts out by giving some information on what Fuge States are (In a very brief explanation, they are a mental disorder where one loses memory and self identity for periods of time. Mostly due to a traumatic event) and that is where Gwen is when the movie starts. In a trance like state when she is broken of it has no idea where she is, how she got there or anything. Her hand is bloody and wrapped up, and her bag is full of gumballs and a gun. When one of the waitresses sees it, screams and alerts the cops in the diner. After an old man taps her, and she flinches, causing her to shot another waitress, and she flees the scene, with the police right behind her. Then we jump to another version of Gwen, passed out on the side of the road in a red dress. This is not the Gwen we see at the diner, but one who almost runs off pure impulse. She attacks the man who pulls over to help her, and steals his car and cigarettes, and goes by the name Flamingo, and this is how the movie plays out. Hoping back and forth, with the Gwen version trying to find out what has happened to her and the Flamingo one, going about things almost randomly, till she learns that her boyfriend was killed by a man named Cyrus, and that is honestly, about as close to the story that I could easily describe in the way I normally would.
Have to give a round of applause to the Director April Mullen and writer Tim Doiron. The way they brought these two stories together was simply incredible. Nothing is ever just a wasted moment. Even a simple sentence in the Gwen half ends up being something massive in the Flamingo story and vice-versa. A little sentence about the situation between Vinnie and Cyrus becomes a big part of what set everything off. The milk and gumballs and the number 88. It’s a movie that makes you sit and pay attention to everything and can be a slight issue at times, cause it’s so easy to miss something. That said, they did a fantastic job at connecting all the dots though.
Between watching and doing this, did a bit of research on Fuge states. Out of curiosity, wanting to see how much of what we see from Gwen\Flamingo is coming from the real deal, and yeah they did a good job at that. Flamingo is a character who doesn’t really ever seem to be in reality. She just goes about her day from one thing to the next. Often experiencing hallucination and blackouts. Now, she may or may not be to an extreme exaggerated form. I don’t know that much about the condition, only read a few articles, but the fact they obvious took time to take the condition seriously is a nice touch.
Acting wise, Katharine Isabelle was fantastic. Playing the more sweet and caring Gwen, who didn’t want to hurt anyone and just wanted to know what happened and why her love was killed. Than turn it around to the mentally broken and violent prone Flamingo. Both roles were so important. Each of them had to carry the narrative and couldn’t imagine anyone other than Katharine Isabelle did. On the villain side, we have Cyrus, played by the extremely talented Christopher Lloyd. He plays such a great bad guy, because it always comes as such a surprise. It shouldn’t really at this point, but he was really sadistic in this, and I think they may have ruined it a bit with the ending. Which we will get into now.
I genuinely didn’t see the Gwen ending coming and still don’t know if I liked it. Felt like a shock that was right there for you to see, and that was how Aster died. All this time, was about avenging his death, and then you see what happens. That while Cyrus and his men were coming to kill them. It was Gwen who shot him by mistake, and that was what triggered the Fuge State, and she gets arrested after Cyrus kills himself. I liked the surprise. Did something different, and not so much the surprise swerve that causes my dislike, but the suicide. I cared about both Gwen and Flamingo and this just seemed to make everything the two have been through for nothing, but maybe that was the point and they want you to think about it long after it’s over, and ask me a week from now. May end up really liking this, but for now. Was such a depressing way for Gwen’s story to end, but not the final shot. Once, again we jump back to Flamingo, going into the Diner. She starts to hallucinate again, as she takes the spot in the diner, we start with, and her and Aster’s song begins to play, and we zoom in on her face. Recreating the exact shot that the movie begins on. While I don’t quite like where the story ends. I did like how the movie comes to an end, by circling back to where we start with.
This movie can be a chore to watch at times. At an hour and twenty eight minutes, it doesn’t seem like all that long, but with how much that is happening and how much you have to pay attention. It can fell much longer, but would absolutely suggest 88 to anyone who wants a mind bender of a movie to watch. It’s a fun movie that is well worth the watch. Hope you enjoyed the review and as always…
Thank you for reading.