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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.)
- John Ulmer
I was expecting some cheesy half-baked effort on all parts, but then again, the film itself took on some twists of its own. Sure, a couple of the twists could be seen a mile away, but it was the way the scenes were cleanly executed to the point where you had to wonder "How is he getting out of this?" While some of the reviews are over the top, this is certainly one of those popcorn movies that I wouldn't mind spending a little dough on. Watch for Denzel and Eva Mendes, enjoy for the tension and the great musical score.
Denzel Washington, (Matthias Lee Whitlock),"Training Day",'01, played the role of a pretty sharp Police Chief when it came to crime. However, he was having wife problems and they were both thinking about divorce and just recently Eva Mendes,(Alex Diaz Whitlock),"Stuck On You", was promoted to a detective on the same police force as her husband. Matthias decides he is going to find romance and hot love somewhere else and finds a gal who really spins of web of destruction all around him and causes his life to become one big mess and both Matthias and his wife really start having problems they never dreamed would ever happen. Have seen better pictures with Denzel Washington, but this film does hold your interest from beginning to the very end.
While staying in a motel in Bandon, Oregon (on the southern coast) over
the past weekend, I noticed that the room had a number of DVDs,
including "Out of Time". I decided to kill some time watching it, not
expecting very much. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised.
I should identify that the movie has nothing to do with the Rolling Stones' song. Denzel Washington plays Matt Whitlock, a cop in a small Florida town. He's been having an affair with a certain Ann (Sanaa Lathan). Since she's dying of cancer, she's made him the beneficiary of her will. But when she and her husband die in a fire, all evidence points to Matt (you'll understand what I mean if you see the movie). So arises the quandary of how he's going to solve the case and clear his name before it's too late, especially given that his ex-wife Alex (Eva Mendes) is absolutely intent on solving the case.
The movie's real strength lies in the twists and turns that they throw in from time to time. I think that probably the coolest scene is the whole sequence in the police station about halfway through the movie; I would have never imagined any movie having a whole sequence like that! But I actually considered Matt's friend Chae (John Billingsley) to be the best character in the movie; I mean, some of those monologues were so great.
All in all, it's not any kind of masterpiece. But it's better than your average man-on-the-run-has-to-clear-himself story. And if I may say so, Eva Mendes looked mighty fine in some of those outfits!
Every movie I have seen with Denzel Washington in it has been a good movie.This is no exception .What I liked about out of time is it had everything.It has great comic relief,drama,mystery and action.I really love movies that lead me in one direction and just when I think I have it all figured out wham! They throw a wrench in the cogwheel and everything is completely different then what I expected. Thats what happened in this movie I was not disappointed.This movie kept me entertained from beginning to the very end which is why I watch movies in the first place.If you like mystery comic relief and action then this is a movie for you!
This is one of the few Denzel Washington movies that flopped. It was
just wasn't likable enough to hit a chord with moviegoers. His acting
is still fine, but the film as a whole wasn't up to Washington's
Being someone attracted to good visuals, I loved the colors in this film, set in South Florida. The orange-and-greens were beautiful and I enjoyed the music, too. It all elevated the likability of this modern day film-noir for me. Unfortunately, a lot of people were bored with this because it had so little action. That didn't bother me, although I have to admit at one point I began wondering "when is something violent going to happen." Many film noirs were like this, anyway, building up tension until the end.
I still found it pretty interesting most of the way, with a nice twist at the end. It's worth a rental, but not a purchase.
Matt Lee Whitlock is the chief of police in a town in Florida. He has
an ex-wife on the job and a girlfriend dieing of cancer. When Ann tells
him that her husband has changed the details of her life insurance
policy, Matt agrees to be named the new beneficiary in order to keep
any payout safe. Meanwhile, under pressure to help her treatment, Matt
takes drug money from the police safe however, when Ann and her husband
are both killed in an arson attack on their home a murder investigation
is launched with Matt's ex-wife Alex heading it up. Initially quick
to cover all links between him and Ann, Matt soon finds that all the
clues are starting to point to him and realises that he is being
Despite a solid (and sexy) cast, this looked too much like an average crime thriller to bother me to go to the cinema. However on DVD I decided to give it a go over the weekend as it seemed more suited to the small screen. Indeed the plot is no great shakes and is essentially a series of little set pieces on the way to a twist that was so apparent that the film doesn't even really deliver it with any great effort. However this is not to say it is no good, but just that it is nothing particularly special. The direction is good and it really helps the film keep a good sense of pace in the way the camera spins around in even the office environment but really it is the cast that make this stand out from the many other crime thrillers that never make it to the cinema.
Washington may well be slumming it here (he criticised it because he said all he did was run) but he holds the attention really well. His character doesn't really act like he should do and sometimes he is just plain wrong but Washington is suitably frantic and sweaty like a man hemmed in on all sides. Mendes is enjoyable even if she has no real character to speak of either, while Lathan rounds out the sex appeal with an OK performance but hardly the femme fatale that she should have been. Cain does better than he usually does and credit to him that he does manage to hold his own with Washington. Generally none of the lead three really act at the level that they can but their presence makes it more interesting.
Overall, my (and most viewers) assumptions were mostly right it is an enjoyable little thriller but not one that is really worth hunting down. The big name cast are sexy and do reasonably well with the little they are given and director Franklin injects more pace that it probably deserved and the end result is a solid enough little film but not one that really does anything special.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie, for me, is most comprable to The Negotiator. Star cop
(although here, the main character has more flaws than Danny in the
Negotiator) gets framed for a murder/embezzlement scheme and has to
prove his innocence in a limited time, despite the enormous amount of
evidence stacked against him.
I like those kinds of movies, so I didn't find this one to be too bad with the exception of two things: the predictable plot points (although I think I've just been watching way too many of these movies, so I've come to follow the formula) and the rather thin ending that never really went into much detail as to why the star cop was set up unlike other thrillers where the antagonists usually explain their schemes in considerable detail (some parts filled in by the protagonist). This one was left somewhat unexplained before eliminating the bad guys.
A decent movie, but probably one they didn't need Denzel Washington for. He's too good and, unfortunately, too old, for a role like this. But, if you enjoy the genre, you're likely to find this one to be satisfying...I guess.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a good standard and efficient thriller starring Denzel Washington.
The film is pretty routine but by having Denzel the film is given extra
class. Anyway the story centers around Denzel's character, Matt Whitlock a
police chief. He is seeing married woman Ann Merai Harrison (Sanaa Lathan)
behind the back of major league A-hole Chris (Dean `Superman' Cain). Ann is
dying of cancer and she and Denzel want to be together but the problem is
she has to have expensive treatment abroad. Ann transfers her life insurance
policy and makes Matt the sole beneficiary. When they decide to cash in on
the policy Denzel loses his sense of morals and is overcome by his love for
Ann. He steals $500,000 of confiscated drugs money that is in an evidence
lock up. He give it to Ann and sets up a meeting. He knows that further down
the line they can cash the insurance policy and he can return the money
without anyone noticing because as he points out: `These goods can be left
un-checked for months'. Problems arise however when he goes to meet Ann and
she has apparently been burnt alive in her house. He had been there earlier
in the night and was spotted by a nosy neighbour so Denzel is now in
trouble, he was spotted by someone and he has motive to have killed her. He
soon discovers that she was not in fact ill and is actually still alive. It
seems she was hustling him good and proper and Den must now investigate
secretly to discover her whereabouts, retrieve the drug money (which is now
to be collected by IA as luck would have it).
The film is un-demanding, simple stuff to be honest. The plot doesn't get too convoluted and the pacing is good. The twists and turns happen at good moments and keep the entertainment levels constant. Denzel is excellent albeit in a role he could do with one arm tied behind his back, his eyes closed and with a pineapple lodged between his butt-cheeks. Eva Mendes that saucy Latin minx is also good as Denzels ex-wife who becomes suspicious of his increasingly nervy and strange behaviour. Sanaa Lathan is also good as is John Billingsley as Matt's slobbish friend. The one who really impressed me though was Dean Cain in a superbly nasty role as Lathan's abusive husband. Cain has never really found much success in his movie career doing cheap action movies that gather dust on the bottom shelves of Blockbusters. It is a shame really because Cain is likeable and has some charisma. He was good in Superman but a lot of TV stars are unable to make the transition to movie star because it requires a different kind of presence and charisma. Lorenzo Lamas is an example of someone similar. He looks a worse actor than he is having done so many low budget b pictures. For me seems too nice to be an action man. If he only takes some of the hardness and nastiness from this role and transfers it to his heroic roles he might get better offers in lead roles. However I don't seeing him as a leading man to be honest. He really does give a good performance in this and I'd like to see him in a few bigger films.
Carl Franklin directs proceedings with assurance and when the action kicks in he paces it well, he is good and safe without having the exceptional in his locker. Graeme Revell is a composer who is generally hit and miss and this score is hit. It is nicely understated and works well. All in all this is good entertainment. ***
Out of Time is directed by Carl Franklin and written by David Collard.
It stars Denzel Washington, Eva Mendes, Sanaa Lathan, Dean Cain and
John Billingsley. Music is by Graeme Revell and cinematography by Theo
Van de Sande.
Matthias Whitlock (Washington) is chief of police in little Banyan Key, Florida. Respected for his work and basically honest in the line of duty. Away from work, however, his marriage to Alex (Mendes) has failed, he's having an affair with an abused wife and he likes a little drink on duty. So when his lover Anne Harrison (Lathan) springs on him the shocking news that she has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, it naturally shakes his world. But this news is merely the start of something bigger, for pretty soon Matt will be in the unusual situation of having to stay one step of his own kind or face dire consequences.
It's a film proudly wearing a badge of homage to film noir of the 40s. In fact it very much plays out as a contemporary riff on John Farrow's excellent Ray Milland starrer of 1948, The Big Clock. But that's fine, especially when you have some knowing craft in front and behind the camera in the shape of Franklin (Devil in a Blue Dress) and Washington (take your pick here really!). Yet as great as Franklin and Washington's work is, they all owe a debt to Collard's screenplay. Inventive in how it plays out as a plot, with it's many tight situations laid down for Washington's duped law enforcer to try and get out of, the screenplay has a knack for deft humour, often sly, which is something that even some of the hardest of noirs from the golden era are tinted with. The secret is being able to blend the humour with quality moments of suspense, and this picture manages to do that with some interest.
Film also benefits greatly from the tight atmosphere created by photographer de Sande. Sweaty Florida in daylight doesn't cry out as being a good starting point for an offshoot of film noir (real Florida locations were thankfully used), but the scenic beauty is never realised during the drama sequences, colours are toned down, even for a stunning red sky, and this perfectly becomes at one with a near frantic Washington as the tricksters of Banyan Key start to close in on him. It's nice too see, also, interracial couples forming the core of the story, while the dominance of sexuality is firmly given a shrewd work over by director and writer. There's good thought gone in to making this, enough to steer it away from charges of just being a faux neo-noir production.
Problems? Yes, a few. Inevitability of outcome is hard to shake off whilst viewing it, especially for those well versed in the genre (sub-genre). Clichés and contrivances are stacked up like a pile of cop thriller 101 books, and Franklin goes smug (daft) by dropping in a couple of slow frame sequences that the film clearly didn't need. While the big showdown in the finale lacks a gut punch. But this is a good viewing, sexy at times and always eye catching, it also pleasingly chooses perky dialogue over action to make its dramatic point. The cast around Washington enhance the quality: Lathan in the tricky role shows a number of layered gears, Cain is imposing as a bully boy husband (where did this Cain go?) and Billingsley almost sneaks in and steals the movie as the loyal and stoic comedy side-kick.
So pesky flaws aside, this is a good recommendation as a night in movie for those with a kink for contemporary neo-noir. 7/10
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