Throughout the story, bits of information begin to accrue that point Jack in many directions at once. As he tracks down one lead after another, it becomes clear that no one in his world is above suspicion. Without the support of his usual allies, Jack watches the clock run down as his chances of surviving get thinner.
For Pacino, putting together the pieces of the puzzle at the heart of 88 Minutes was the most satisfying part of the experience. "What Jon and I enjoyed most about working together was making this story believable. We were thinking on our feet. If this did happen, then what? Jon likes to have fun that way. He likes to play, and so we had this back and forth. We would say, 'Well, would he really do this? Would that really happen?'
"We were trying to make a thriller and at the same time make it logical and believable- always asking each other 'What if?' Extraordinary things happen in this picture. We might say, 'Well, that would never happen,' and then when we looked into it, we'd see it did happen."
"What might be the last 88 minutes of a man's life is what the movie's about," says Pacino. "Jack is a man who's had a life that not many of us would understand. He's a drinking person and he's also a man who has not found love. And he's not found happiness. He has not found pleasure, really. We discover a lot of things about him as that period ticks away, as his life is ticking away. And the plot takes a lot of twists and turns. It's open season. Everybody's a suspect and gradually you can understand why he feels that way."
For Avnet, however, the plot takes a back seat to larger questions. "I think the rule is that most people's lives begin a U-turn after an extraordinary accident or trauma," he says. "A lot of what the film is about on an emotional level is what do you do in that situation? What kind of person do you become? How do you live through an event that changes your life?
"Jack's life is what has basically determined his character," continues the director. "He has a sort of a shadow that enters the room before he does. He's been a victim, and he has a great deal of compassion for victims. The question for all victims is, can you recover? That's a very complicated one for most people.
88 Minutes shot in and around the Greater Vancouver, Canada area over 39 days.