A drama based on the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College Texas. In 1935, he inspired students to form the school's first debate team, which went on to challenge Harvard in the national championship.
Armed men hijack a New York City subway train, holding the passengers hostage in return for a ransom, and turning an ordinary day's work for dispatcher Walter Garber into a face-off with the mastermind behind the crime.
Matt Whitlock, the police chief of Banyan Key a small town near Florida, is separated from his wife, Alex, a police detective based in Florida. Matt's been having an affair with Ann Merai Harrison, a woman who's separated from her husband Chris and who says that she has cancer. When her doctor tells her of a new treatment that's expensive, Matt gives her the nearly half a million dollars that he seized from some drug dealers. When she turns up dead evidence points to Whitlock. He tries to figure out what's going on but apparently it appears he's been set up. So he has to try and find the money especially now that the Feds are asking for it before the evidence exposes him. Written by
One of the best films of the year -- Denzel strikes again with a powerhouse performance.
I can't remember a really good film noir being made in quite some time. There may have been a handful of good (or decent) film noirs recently, but the bad outnumber them by about 100 to 1.
I went into Carl Franklin's "Out of Time" with a certain amount of interest--I wasn't sure what to expect. I knew that it was a crime thriller/film noir about a guy who gets caught up in some type of crime, but other than that I really had no idea what the film was like. It hadn't gotten extremely good reviews (although most of them were at least positive), and that lowered my expectations a bit. I had finally come to expect a fairly decent thriller with illogical plot holes and a boring pace.
I was wrong.
With a back-to-back viewing of David Spade's "Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star" and "Out of Time," there was a nice contrast going, which may explain why I enjoyed the film so very much. But there's one thing for certain--it's a lot cleverer than most films of its kind.
Matt Whitlock (Denzel Washington) is running out of time. He's been framed for murder and has to cover his tracks before the clues start to pile up against him. And there are a lot of clues pointing not only in his direction, but directly at him.
Matt is the police chief of a small town in Florida. Nobody suspects him. But he is sole beneficiary on the female victim's life insurance claim. And right before she died, Matt took over $400,000 worth of confiscated drug money and planned to run off with her. Nobody knew they were having an affair because she was a married woman and they were keeping their romantic adventures secret. She made Matt her beneficiary after being diagnosed with cancer--but now she's been discovered dead in a fire with her husband, the money gone, and all the evidence points--as I said before--to him. Fortunately, the police officials haven't picked up any traces. Yet. So, in a frantic race for time, Matt has to cover up all his tracks before the find out.
The doctor who diagnosed her cancer is gone. The money is gone. Matt's ex-wife (Eva Mendes) is bent on finding the killer, and sooner or later she'll figure out that Matt was having an affair, that he had a motive to kill (over 1,000,000 dollars), etc. But will she find out the real truth: That he is innocent?
This stuff's been done before; even I'll admit that. But this time it's great. Everything about this movie works, from the style (with all the vivid brightness of Florida portrayed in films such as "Scarface" or "Get Shorty") to the acting (Denzel strikes again!) to direction (Carl Franlin brings a distinct style to the film). From the opening credits I had a big smile on my face. This was a pleasant twist on film noir.
Admittedly the first half hour is rather slow. I almost came close to giving the film a negative review. But then the chain of events rolled in like a one-two punch; fast, furious, and everything you could wish for in a mystery. And, unlike some films, when you stop to take a look at the plot twists in "Out of Time"...they actually make sense.
Denzel Washington is one of the best actors in Hollywood; he can lift any film out of mediocrity, including that underrated supernatural thriller "Fallen" with John Goodman. He is simply amazing, always able to bring a sense of realism to his roles, and he does this in "Out of Time"--I never doubted his role for a minute. That's pretty rare.
I would say that "Out of Time" is one of the best films of the year. It seems real, with likable characters portrayed by a strong cast, including John Billinglsey as Chae, Matt's best friend who shows up when he's needed the most. In retrospect, a lot of these characters seem pretty typical and routine. But when I was watching the film, it seemed extremely realistic and convincing. That's always a good sign.
"Out of Time" is rated PG-13 for some sexuality, violence, and language. (Re-rated from a mild R after a few scene cuts.)
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