Out Of Time

Movie Review by Neil Ryan

Starring: Denzel Washington, Eva Mendes, Sanaa Lathan, Dean Cain, John Billingsley

Director: Carl Franklin

OUT OF TIME is held together by a typically laconic and controlled performance by Denzel Washington. He stars as Matt Whitlock, the police chief of Banyan Key in Florida; the kind of easygoing tropical hotspot where shorts, loud shirts, pina coladas, and Jimmy Buffet songs are de rigueur. On the verge of a divorce from unlikely homicide detective Alex (Eva Mendes) Matt seeks solace via an affair with college sweetheart Anne Marie (Sanaa Lathan), which is silly because her husband Chris (Dean Cain) is clearly bad news. Matters take a turn for the worse for Matt when Anne Marie and Chris are murdered and an eyewitness spots him near the crime scene shortly before it happens. He then discovers that money that was in his care after being recovered from a drugs bust has gone missing – and federal agents are demanding he hand it over urgently. Can he solve the murders and recover the dough before his estranged wife’s team of investigators stumble upon evidence of his complicity…? Probably.

This is a fun and undemanding thriller. Like all of the best modern takes on film noir it does not stray into unnecessarily complex or overblown scenarios but keeps plot and incident taut and always moving forwards. The undulating storyline means that a couple of aspects are unlikely (Matt not being aware that Anne Marie worked at a dental practice) or superfluous (the exaggerated fight on the collapsing hotel balcony belongs in the DIE HARD franchise and detracts from OUT OF TIME’s pacing). But there are more than enough compensations in a movie which (aided by a couple of visual red herrings) does not always opt for the obvious route and, in the presence of Denzel Washington, has a sufficiently reliable lead who is able to paper over the minor cracks.

4 out of 6 stars

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