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Movie Reviews

[Tribeca ’22] ’88’ review: Political thriller has too much of the right idea

Follow the numbers.

88 is a political thriller that is unafraid to dip a toe in conspiracy theories. The movie is about a financial director named Femi Jackson (Brandon Victor Dixon) who works at a democratic super PAC. While working to get presidential hopeful Harold Roundtree (Orlando Jones) elected, he discovers a strange pattern in the donations.

Since the movie takes on such a high level concept, this requires lots of explaining. Financial investments are an important part of politics, but for the average person this does not mean much more than how much money a campaign spends. 88 takes a deeper dive, which means there are many times it has to walk audiences by the hand. It is a smart choice, but it will frustrate those who are familiar with how it all works.

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The actual plot itself does not have these problems. As Femi looks into the financial books, he starts to see a suspicious trend. His boss waves him off so he goes to a blogger friend named Ira Goldstein (Thomas Sodoski). This all leads into dark secrets held by both political parties, lots of discussions about the direction of the country, and Nazis.

Things get sillier than writer-director Eromose probably intended. 88 is unafraid to take on a number of hot button issues. The problem is, it tries to address all of them. Nowhere is this more evident than in a scene about Asians and Blacks. It is an interesting discussion that does little to add to the actual story. It is also the only appearance of one of the characters. 

[Tribeca '22] '88' review: Political thriller has too much of the right idea

The movie is never actively bad, it just has a lot on its plate. If done correctly, a multilayered story can get people to think and even reassess how they look at life. But when the script is just dogpiling issues, things can get ugly. For the most part, 88 is a competent movie. It just would have been better served if it were a little smaller in scope.

The Tribeca Film Festival takes place from June 8 – June 19. Full lineup, passes, and tickets can be found HERE


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