Out of Time
2 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
Out of Time Besides Antwone Fisher, when was the last time Denzel made a film that had a good screenplay? It's certainly not this entertaining but rather weak thriller. Matt Whitlock (Washington) is the police chief in sleepy Banyan Key, Florida, where he's splitting up with his detective wife Alex (Mendes) and having a fling with a sexy housewife (Lathan), who's married to a former football pro (Cain), who's of course a hothead wifebeater. Then Matt makes a serious error in judgement that sets him up as a murder suspect, and it's a race against time as he tries to cover the increasing mountain of evidence, elude some nosey Feds and get to the bottom of a mystery ... all before his soon-to-be-ex wife arrests him!

The plot itself is intriguing as we watch Matt dig himself in deeper, seemingly beyond rescue! And Washington plays it well, as you'd expect. It's nice to see him as a sexy, shady character for a change (although the sex is so chaste and awkward that it would seem childish even on TV). While there's a subdued spark in his relationship with Lathan, there's no frisson at all between him and Mendes. Anything would have helped! As a result, the mercurial Cain emerges as the most intriguing character, despite efforts to shove him into a stereotype at every turn. Meanwhile, the film has a jazzy, almost humorous tone that undermines the potboiler storyline ... and strangely improves it. There's even a comic relief character in Billingsley's goofy medical examiner. Alas, everything smacks of laziness, from cheesy production design to appalling dialog and deeply shallow characterisations (the script's fault, not the acting). Franklin's direction is blandly by the book; we know all the plot holes will be ignored, and that there will be a simplistic resolution to the increasingly complicated series of events. There are some nice twists along the way, but screenwriter Collard never makes the most of them. And without characters we can root for (Matt is so stupid we want him to go down!), it's hard for us to feel anything at all.

cert 12tbc themes, violence, some sex] 25.Oct.03

dir Carl Franklin
scr Dave Collard
with Denzel Washington, Eva Mendes, Sanaa Lathan, Dean Cain, John Billingsley, Alex Carter, Robert Baker, Neil Brown Jr, Anotoni Cornacchione, Deborah Smith Ford, Tom Hillmann, Veryl Jones
release US 3.Oct.03 UK 26.Dec.03
MGM
03/US 1h54

Things that go bump in the night: Lathan and Washington.

washington mendez cain
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R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... Out of Time Priscilla Mack, Baltimore: 2 out of 5 stars "Denzel needs a hit! Out of Time is not going to do it. It's not the movie to put his name up there in flashing lights. Sure the movie had its twists and turns, sex and violence, etc. What it lacked was a better script, an actor that was more interested in his role. This was just an okay movie, not one you want to rush out and tell your friends that they must go see it." (6.Oct.03)
2003 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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