Screened at the Tribeca Film Festival (3.5/5)
Getting an accurate handle on the bigger picture nature of American society, economics and politics (especially when it comes to fundamental matters of control, freedom, justice, equality and other such attributes) is quite an undertaking. It requires probing under the skin of these measures, which is not the easiest of tasks given the clandestine means employed to conceal the truth, tactics that might easily be characterized as conspiracy theories (and hence easily ridiculed and dismissed, despite whatever validity they might possess, even if revealed through paper trails and other damning evidence). The impact on those most greatly disempowered by this scheme, such as minorities and the economically challenged, is particularly crucial, producing a state perpetually aimed at keeping the average individual under the thumb of those in what essentially amounts to sociopathic control. Bringing these issues to light is the aim of this social/political thriller from writer-director Eromose as told through the eyes of the financial director of a super PAC raising funds for an African-American Democratic presidential candidate who stumbles upon a potentially shocking scandal involving the source of enormous and questionable campaign donations. The film is quite chilling at times, especially the further one gets into the story. However, the picture’s screenplay is somewhat uneven, especially at the outset, plagued by writing that at times sounds unnatural, as well as complicated legal material that’s presented in varying degrees of both oversimplified detail and under-explained descriptions that practically require a flow chart to decipher. “88” is definitely an ambitious project that tries to tie everything together in a tidy package, but the scope may simply be too great to accomplish that goal effectively. It’s a nice try that comes close but ultimately doesn’t quite hit the target.