OUT OF TIME is a familiar formula crime thriller with a plot vaguely reminiscent of the 1987 screen hit NO WAY OUT starring Kevin Costner and Gene Hackman. Although not nearly as polished and intricate, and despite its various blemishes and occasional plot holes, it works with surprising precision and entertaining appeal to the great delight of its audience.
Matt Lee Whitlock (Denzel Washington) is the earring-clad Chief of Police in Banyan Key, Florida. Basking in the limelight of a well-publicized drug bust with the seizure of a major drug cache and a large sum of money, everything seems to be falling into place in his career, but his marriage is on the verge of collapse. Actually, the Whitlocks have separated, and the Chief has found consolation in an illicit romance with another married woman, the sultry Anne Harrison (played by Sanaa Lathan).
In a small community such as Banyan Key, everybody is bound to know each other, including Whitlock and Anne’s husband, Chris Harrison (Dean Cain). From the beginning, the two make it quite obvious that they don’t like each other – to put it mildly, especially when they both know who is cheating with whom. This thorny, steamy state of affairs is complicated even further when Anne finds out that she has terminal cancer and has only a few months to live. On the other hand, she has also discovered that her life insurance policy is not for $100,000 dollars as she had previously thought, but a cool million. Unfortunately, a technical glitch in the paperwork prevents her from cashing in a portion of the money to get an expensive cancer treatment in Switzerland that may save her life.
In an impulsive act of compassion, and against his better judgment, Whitlock decides to take the money from the drug bust and give it to Anne for her treatment. As they say, no good deed goes unpunished, even if it means breaking the law. No sooner has the Chief gotten hold of the confiscated money that the Good Samaritan plan goes seriously awry. Whitlock finds himself desperately trying to extricate himself from suspicion in a long list of crimes including obstruction of justice, tampering with evidence, and a couple counts of murder. Time is rapidly running out as the Chief frantically stays one step ahead of the investigation conducted by his very own cops, the DEA, and even his beautiful wife detective Alex Diaz-Whitlock (Eva Mendes) as the clock ticks down to the surprising conclusion.
Denzel Washington has come to be one of Hollywood’s premier stars. Once again he convincingly demonstrates his star qualities in OUT OF TIME. Without a particularly long, or well-known list of credits, and by following the plain style of some of his earlier works such as ONE TRUE THING, Carl Franklin manages once again to find success in simplicity. The plot moves along smoothly, and all the elements necessary for a successful film made by the numbers are executed almost flawlessly. Add some well timed, truly funny, comedic relief, a few sharp, witty lines, some politically correct social observations, and a very good cast of characters, and voila, you have a cinematic hit.
OUT OF TIME is certainly not Oscar material, but a popular hit it should be. There were a few rough spots here and there, and even an occasional lack of concentration by Franklin that could have had the potential to give the plot away, but if a formula ever performed the function it was intended for, it is with OUT OF TIME. Sanaa Lathan, Eva Mendes, and Dean Cain make up a fitting supporting cast, and the Florida locations fortunately give moviegoers an updated, interesting look, while shying away from the worn “In the Heat of the Night” mood normally associated with crime thrillers in a Southern setting.
The very regrettably downside for OUT OF TIME is that the filmmakers have included plenty of foul language, and for a movie carrying a PG-13 rating, the director still saw the need to include a couple totally unnecessary sex scenes. The movie makes light of having an adulterous relationship and contains a conflicted hero, further marring this otherwise acceptable, enjoyable thriller. OUT OF TIME deserves extreme caution for moral viewers.
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SUMMARY: OUT OF TIME stars Denzel Washington as Matt Lee Whitlock, the respected chief of police in small Banyan Key, Florida, who must solve a vicious double homicide before he himself falls under suspicion. OUT OF TIME has all the elements necessary for a successful movie, but contains foul language, sexual content, and a conflicted protagonist that deserves extreme caution for moral viewers.
(Pa, B, PC, LLL, VV, S, A, M) Secular pagan worldview with redeeming elements such as an affirmation of marriage and some politically correct social comments; 24 obscenities and 14 profanities; violence includes murder by shooting and man falls from balcony to his death; implied intercourse, couple in bed together, and depicted adultery; implied but no depicted nudity; alcohol use; smoking; and lying and cheating.
GENRE: Police Thriller