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"Out of Time" - Movie Review

"Out of Time" - Movie Review

Genre:  Suspense, Thriller

Rating:  PG-13 (for sexual content, violence and some language)

Release Date:  October 3, 2003

Actors:  Denzel Washington, Dean Cain, Sanaa Lathan, Eva Mendes, Robert Baker, John Billingsley, Alex Carter, Antoni Corone, Tom Hillmann

Director:  Carl Franklin

Special Notes:  Franklin previously directed Washington in the film, “Devil in a Blue Dress.”

Plot:  Matt Lee Whitlock (Washington) is the chief of police in a small Florida town who’s respected by his peers and community. But lately, things are going a little rough for Matt. His wife Alex (Eva Mendes) moved out a few months before, filed for divorce, and has become a homicide detective in Miami. Matt began an affair with Ann Harrison (Sanaa Lathan), a woman he has known since high school who’s married to an abusive husband (Dean Cain). When Ann discovers she has terminal cancer, Matt tries to help her and in the process raises suspicion from her angry husband. One night, Ann’s house explodes in flames. Two bodies are recovered along with a device that points to murder, so in comes Alex to investigate the case. Little by little, the mounting evidence begins to point to Matt, and he soon realizes that he could lose everything that he holds dear to him -- including his soon-to-be ex-wife. The only friend he can trust is his co-worker Chae (Billingsley) who helps him cover his tracks as much as possible. With time running out, Matt is in a desperate race to uncover the truth, unravel the mystery and save his life and reputation.

Good:  Washington is one of my favorite actors. It doesn’t matter what role he takes, he makes it interesting and delivers a compelling and entertaining character. Once the plot is set up and the action gets going, the movie is propelled by clues, close-calls and being in the right place at the right time. Washington plays a likeable character, a good guy who makes the wrong choice to get into a relationship after his wife leaves him. His earnest but stupid decision to help Ann quickly turns on him, and soon he is reaping the consequences of his actions. This is the kind of role Washington shines in because he can play the everyday man who is tough, manly and falls prey to his own stupidity in a believable way. He doesn’t come across as a “super action” character, but rather a real human being with frailties and vulnerabilities and that’s what makes him succeed in a role like this. Most people will relate to his “good guy” character and will have empathy for his bad choices. Billingsley ends up being a perfect buddy/partner to Washington. His one-liners and jovial character not only add humor but offer some relief to an otherwise intense story. This movie has a Hollywood ending that wraps up everything neatly and leaves the audience in a good mood -- even if it’s unrealistic. The plot has a few holes (like why would you give someone a bag full of a lot of money if you were going to turn around and meet that person a few hours later?) and some close-call situations that make the story intense and kept me on the edge of my seat. Although there is not an overt religious message in this movie, there are definitely principles that are obvious in the end: you do reap what you sow and when you sin, your sins will find you out. I also liked the fact that Matt felt ashamed about the affair that he had and realized that he still loved his wife.

Bad:  This is a thriller centered on lust, greed and murder. There’s an implied sexual situation that is steamy because of the noises, but most of the action takes place behind a wall and nothing is really shown (no clothes are removed). There’s also a brief scene of a woman and man in bed, covered by a sheet. A couple of burnt cadavers are shown, a gunfight results in two people being killed and a woman has a bloody face. 

Bottom Line:  For those who enjoy an action-packed, intense thriller with smart characters, witty dialogue and stars that are easy on the eyes, this plot will appeal to you. I enjoyed the movie mainly because of Washington. While this movie isn't his best performance, it's not intended to be. This is an adult thriller that is rated PG-13 because of the language, violence and implied sexual situation; it’s not a movie for older kids or younger teens because of those adult elements.