Movie Review
Out of Time
Out of Time poster
By Craig Younkin     Published October 4, 2003
US Release: October 3, 2003

Directed by: Carl Franklin
Starring: Denzel Washington , Sanaa Lathan , Dean Cain , Eva Mendes

Running Time: 106 minutes
Domestic Box Office: $40,767,000
There were a couple of moments where this movie strained its credibility, but what has been crafted here is a very interesting ?who-done-it/how-do-I-get-out-of-it? that audiences should really like.
?Out of Time? proves once again that advertising is never all that it's cracked up to be. When I saw the trailer for this movie, it made it look like every other generic mystery movie. I thought that I could almost pick out who the killer was just by watching it ? even the title has a ?been there, done that? feel to it. So I went in, albeit with a low expectation, but was very surprised, as the movie itself is a lot more entertaining than it has any right to be.

One of the reasons why is the great Denzel Washington ? he plays Matt Whitlock, the police chief of a small Florida town called Banyan Key. We first see him reading the paper where there is a story about how he managed to foil a major drug deal ? the profits of that deal (four hundred and eighty-five thousand dollars) is now a Saran-wrapped brick of cash sitting in an evidence locker.

Whitlock is having women troubles, however; he has just divorced his wife, Alex (Eva Mendes), and is now sleeping with Ann-Merai Harrison (Sanaa Lathan), the wife of an ex-football player turned security guard named Chris (Dean Cain). Matt sees that Ann is struggling with Chris' physically abusive assaults on her and also struggles with cancer. Whitlock tries to help, but everything goes wrong, leaving him with no choice but to give her the drug money so she can get help from a clinic in Switzerland.

Only this decision backfires on him when her house goes up in flames, killing both Ann and Chris. The fire is classified as a homicide, bringing Alex back on to the scene to partner up with her ex-hubby. From there, the story becomes not just a mystery but a mad dash by Whitlock to cover up anything that might connect him to Ann-Merai, and there is a lot of it.

The real suspense of this film is whether or not Whitlock can stay one step ahead of the rapidly closing-in homicide division. Add in the DEA, who are on their way to pick up the money, and a few other plot twists and you have a movie that is never less than thrilling. Even when there is the realization of who the killer is, there is still so much of this movie to love. Director Carl Franklin does a really nice job, especially with the very intense close-ups of these characters. The music is also exceptionally done, capturing the life of Miami in its rhythm and beat.

Denzel Washington is also brilliant here, playing a decent guy forced into sneaky acts of self-preservation ? the character is very human. He makes many errors in judgement, but is smart and savvy in using his power as police chief to correct those errors and to deter anyone who might be coming close to suspecting him.

The rest of the cast does a nice job of backing him up; Sanaa Lathan is very sexy and likable in her role, as is Eva Mendes, although I didn't believe for a second that her and Washington ever had romantic chemistry together. Dean Cain comes in as very menacing, and John Billingsley comes in and out of the film for some goofy comic relief.

There were a couple of moments where this movie strained its credibility, but what has been crafted here is a very interesting ?who-done-it/how-do-I-get-out-of-it? that audiences should really like.
Craig's Grade: B
Craig's Overall Grading: 340 graded movies
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'Out of Time' Articles
  • Greg's review B+
    October 14, 2003    The kind of film that Hitchcock fans can appreciate for its modern day take on what the master of suspense tried to accomplish. -- Greg Ward