Out of Time (2003) Poster

(I) (2003)

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7/10
Chae is the coolest character
Lee Eisenberg23 July 2007
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!
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8/10
One of the best films of the year -- Denzel strikes again with a powerhouse performance.
MovieAddict201612 January 2004
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.)

4/5 stars.

  • John Ulmer
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7/10
A lot better than the trailer indicates
Agent108 October 2003
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.
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7/10
Denzel gives this class!!
Warning: 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. ***
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7/10
Would you have given it to me if I slept with you?
Spikeopath29 February 2012
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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7/10
Good, if unoriginal noir
blanche-227 June 2009
Denzel Washington is a policeman who is "Out of Time" in this 2003 film also starring Eva Mendes, Sanaa Lathan, and Dean Cain.

Washington plays Matt Whitlock, a policeman involved in an affair with the beautiful Ann Harrison (Lathan). Whitlock is currently embroiled in divorce proceedings from his detective wife (Mendes), and Ann is married to an abusive ex-football player (Cain). When Ann is diagnosed with terminal cancer, Whitlock wants to help her. It puts him in the center of a crime investigation with potentially devastating implications.

This wrongly accused/framed man storyline has been used with great success in films such as No Way Out and the film on which it was based, The Clock, and "Out of Time" borrows heavily from these two films. Whitlock has to stay one step ahead of his wife's investigation in order to keep from being accused of one crime, and he has to avoid an agent for whom he's holding evidence in order to keep from being accused of another. How he wriggles out of various situations makes for some good suspense and engrossing viewing.

Washington is excellent as the harried cop, and the film is well worth watching, even though it's easy to figure out past a certain point. Although very derivative, it's highly entertaining too.
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9/10
Out of time starring Denzel Washington 2003
russianbrother-18 February 2006
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!
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Enjoyable enough little film but nothing special
bob the moo23 August 2004
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 framed.

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.
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10/10
Eva Mendes & Denzel Burned Up the Screen
whpratt123 May 2006
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.
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6/10
Liked It Better Than Most People Did, But Still Not Up To Standards
ccthemovieman-129 June 2006
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 standards.

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.
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4/10
Decent thriller if...
Pepper Anne16 December 2003
Warning: 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.
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Worth your time
davideo-25 January 2004
STAR RATING:*****Unmissable****Very Good***Okay**You Could Go Out For A Meal Instead*Avoid At All Costs

Matt Whitlock (Denzel Washington) is the immoral police chief of a small coastal town in Florida.He is having a sleazy affair with Ann Marai Harrison (Sanaa Lathan),a dental nurse and the wife of fellow police officer and rival Chris (Dean Cain),who mistreats her mentally and physically.One day,posing as her brother,he and Ann Marai pay a visit to the doctors to pick up some blood test results.It is here they are dealt the shocking blow that Ann Marai has an incurable form of cancer and has roughly only six months to live.Ann Marai wakes up to the hopelessness of her situation,but Whitlock clings on to hope in the shape of some treatment in a foreign country.It's going to cost a fair bit though,and money doesn't seem to be readily available.Desperate for cash,Whitlock steals a small fortune seized from a drug bust and puts it forward.Then,the next morning everything goes pear shaped when both Ann Marai and Chris are killed in an apparent arson attack.Aside from losing the woman he loved,Whitlock must now also contend with the mounting evidence putting him in the frame,especially when a nearby elderly neighbour (Evelyn Brooks) points him out as a suspect and a homicide squad,headed by his wife Alex (Eva Mendes) find evidence that suggests he was the new benificerary of Ann Marai's will.

This is the second pairing of Washington and director Carl Franklin since the film noir Devil in a Blue Dress,nine years ago in 1995.The films are very similar in substance and style,and are conveyed in a very similar way.Washington,though not turning in the best performance of his career,carries the film fairly engagingly,and is given good support in the shape of Lathan,Cain and Mendes.Though the performances are perfectly on par,a lot of the film's shortcomings are attributable to director Franklin,who allows the pace to become rather laxed and to lose it's sense of narrative structure in parts.Like many thrillers nowadays,he also allows credibility to be stretched fairly far in certain parts,requiring a rather huge and unreasonable suspension of disbelief from the audience.

He does also,however,really require you to use your brain and pay attention at all times to everything that is being said and inferred,no matter how preposterous it may sometimes be.The film emerges as being as good as you could hope it would be,serving it's purpose as a watchable but ultimately generic Hollywood cookie cutter thriller.***
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8/10
Suspense, Action & Great Entertainment
seymourblack-18 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
"Out Of Time" is full of excitement, danger and suspense and although its rather intricate plot is very familiar in nature, it's totally gripping from start to finish. Inspiration for the story was obviously drawn from all those film noirs about a guy who makes a bad decision which gets him into a fix and then has to race against time to prove his innocence. The significance to the story of a life insurance policy is reminiscent of "Double Indemnity" (1944) and the presence of a hapless man who's involved in an investigation where he knows that all the evidence is certain to point to his guilt, brings to mind "The Big Clock" (1948). There's even a scene in a hotel where Denzel Washington is unable to leave by the main exit because of all the activity in the foyer and this replicates a very similar situation in "The Big Clock" where Ray Milland is confronted by the same type of problem.

This movie very successfully combines its themes of adultery, larceny and murder with action sequences, amusing plot twists and a good deal of humour to produce some terrific entertainment. The photography and direction are top class and the locations used contribute greatly to the sultry atmosphere of the whole piece.

Matt Whitlock (Denzel Washington) is the Chief of Police in the small town of Banyan Key, Florida. His wife is in the process of divorcing him and he's involved in a passionate affair with Ann Merai Harrison (Sanaa Lathan) who used to be his childhood sweetheart. She's married to Chris (Dean Cain) a violent ex-pro football player who frequently beats her but also conveniently works in the evenings as a security guard.

Ann asks Matt to accompany her when she visits her doctor who tells her that she's terminally ill with cancer and only has a few months to live. The only possibility of a better outcome is if she's able to undergo some expensive experimental therapies which are only available in Switzerland. As Ann is in no position to afford this option, Matt decides to let her have $485,000 of drugs money which is kept in his office safe to be used at some future date as evidence in a trial and in return, Ann makes Matt the sole beneficiary of a life insurance policy which is due to pay out $1,000,000 in the event of her death.

A little while later, Ann's house burns down, two charred bodies are found inside and the money's gone. Tests indicate that the fire was started deliberately and so an investigation is set up to discover who was responsible for the double homicide. This puts Matt in a real tight spot because he knows that he'll become the main suspect if it comes to light that he is the sole beneficiary of her insurance policy. Just to make matters worse, there's a neighbour who reports that she saw him outside Ann's house on the night of the fire, his estranged wife Alex (Eva Mendes) is the homicide detective assigned to the case and the DEA suddenly demand the drugs money which is needed urgently to be entered as evidence in an important trial that they're prosecuting.

Denzel Washington is excellent as the fall guy who has to suppress the evidence he doesn't want to be uncovered whilst also trying to hunt down the real culprits before it's too late. This involves him in some exciting chases, a dangerous struggle on a hotel balcony and some tense situations such as when he intercepts the records of Ann's telephone calls so that he can delete the entries that relate to his calls before Alex scrutinizes the documents. Despite the things that he does wrong, Matt remains a sympathetic character throughout. Washington is naturally charismatic and handles all the aspects of his role with supreme skill and conviction.

There are also some good supporting performances with Dean Cain being impressively menacing and John Billingsley providing both charm and humour as Matt's sidekick.
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Old Film Noir plot??
SceneByScene7 December 2006
This reminded me of an old Film Noir style plot.

Was this film a direct copy of any such plot, does anyone know?

Or was it just an 'homage' to that style of 1940s-ish Hollywood plot-line?

It was a good film and kept you thinking. Though had its flaws, as some of the details as why characters were doing what they did could have been filled out.

Denzel Washington nicely underplayed this role, with none of the histrionics a lesser actor could have used to portray the stress he was under (i.e. with his character under such pressure) - bubbling but not boiling over.

And it was good to see Dean Cain in a 'bad guy' role!!

~ Scene by Scene ~
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3/10
so so, so?
loydmooney-114 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Most thrillers do not play fair. Anybody can put a twist in a piece of fantasy. This one was no exception. Take the shootout with the woman the cop is playing around with: there is no reason to show her all worked up and scared of her brutal husband while the two are alone and waiting for the cop to arrive with the money (forgetting that he hardly has to bring her the money: what is he going to do with it, hand it over to her, and how did he wind up with it after jumping out of the.....)so they go on letting us believe right until the last moment with not a nod to reality that she is the victim of the rather stupid plot to begin with. And another bad movie is made. Oddly the scene where she shoots him is quite good,all kinds of decent levels to it, about the only thing in the film that made watching it worthwhile. In a way I almost thought I was enduring a really bad episode of Miami Vice.
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3/10
a DVD-production
Mark18 May 2007
This should have gone straight to DVD. Perhaps it did(?)

It has the look - for the most part it's full of close ups and the camera work is full of fast and slow movements for no obvious reason - all of that will look terrible on the big screen but is pretty much standard for TV. And since there are so many close ups, neither achieves the punch that a more restrained use would provide - and at the same time the film doesn't have to show the lack of production values.

The plot is too predictable and the suspense consists mostly of eerie music that we recognize from countless TV productions also - it does not work.

Only for die-hard fans of the always reliable Denzel Washington.
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1/10
terrible
daanmous12 October 2004
Too many cliché's, really really bad acting, a really slow start and an end that didn't surprise at all. A terrible casting of Denzel's wife. She looked fine, but her face had no expressions and she wasn't a credible character. Just terrible. Once the film started, I guessed the story-line, surprisingly I was wright. Sometimes I couldn't hold my laugh, because of the things the director had invented. Why the cliché's of the wife that wouldn't believe her husband at first, but at the end she came back to him and they lived happily ever after. Why they break up and why she wanted to divorce is not clear. They just did. Someone who wouldn't guess everything would be fine at last, has no knowledge about movie-cliché's. I thought Denzel wouldn't participate in that kind of movies. Maybe he just wanted to kiss some beautiful girls. If that's the reason, okay, if it isn't...I don't get him.
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Decent
Jeff25 January 2004
When I first saw the trailer for "Out of Time," I was pumped to go and see it when it came out. But then I saw the lame TV spots and decided against going, and the reviews it received didn't exactly give incentive for seeing it either. But I still always sort of had the urge to see it, and I finally got my chance, with decent results.

"Out of Time" is the type of thriller that tries hard, but still comes up short. There were no horrible aspects of this movie, nothing that stands out as being horribly dumb or even horribly unorginal. Yet everything seems mediocre. Denzel's acting was great, but other cast members occasionally seemed a little lost. The direction was also pretty good, but Carl Franklin seemed to have a little trouble pacing the movie, with a couple scenes seeming completely out of place. The music also, by Graeme Revell, was pretty good, but wasn't exemplary or especially dramatic. The cinematography was good, but didn't really stand out, while the screenplay also lagged in places. Plus, the story was original, but not original enough to really keep you guessing.

Yet the movie does create suspense quite well and Denzel saves the movie from complete mediocrity.

Final Grade: B.
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7/10
Washington and Franklin give regular story some leadership and class
bigtommytahoe16 June 2005
Nothing much seems to go on in this small, lazy South-Florida town. Just as little is done by its sheriff, Matt Lee Whitlock (Denzel Washington), a fact well illustrated in an early scene of him polishing off a beer, his legs propped up on his office desk. Maybe he's bored. Or maybe drinking beers on the job is just what one does to make it through the humid summers down there. There is one thing happening: an affair he has been nurturing on the side with a steamy young woman, Ann, who calls in an attempted robbery as a sort of thrilling preamble to sizzling sex with the sheriff when he shows up. He may be the lazy type, but you cannot say he's not careful. And the scene does sizzle. Ann is played by the very appealing Sanaa Lathan, and married to a jobless professional quarterback, Chris (Dean Cain), who spends his time working at the county morgue. It is made very clear from the beginning the only thing Matt and Chris have in common (other than Gorgeous Ann) is a mutual distaste for one another. So the stage has been set for the rest of Out of Time, a frenetic, sometimes tense thriller that, by force of star power and sure direction, just manages to elevate itself above the unremarkable genre which binds it.

Many movies before this one have told the story of the innocent man trying to extricate himself from a sticky situation, proving his innocence while at the same time trying to catch the bad guy. The Fugitive comes to mind as one of the better variations on the theme, and there are of course many lesser versions as well. In this film, it's Chief Whitlock who's stuck in a mess. And though there may or not be others involved in putting him there, he has for the most part no one to blame but himself for his lousy predicament. And of course this all involves a host of details and plot particulars which are not mine to tell. Let's just say that it involves these factors: his lover Ann; a double murder; a life insurance policy; his ex-wife investigating the murder; the D.E.A., and hundreds of thousands of dollars in confiscated drug bust money. And in the middle of this swamp of ingredients wades Whitlock himself -- caught very much by surprise, no longer bored, and now with a sense of urgency bordering on panic. And as the title suggests, time doesn't look to be on his side.

Out of Time was directed by Carl Franklin, who is capable and experienced at his craft. Two of his films, One False Move and One True Thing, were alike in more than one way. While their stories were completely unrelated, they both featured strong casts, absorbing dialog and measured, observant direction. With One False Move, a film about outlaws on the run through the deep South, Franklin was adept at controlling the pace of the story, keenly evoking suspense when needed, allowing for tense dramatic pauses when called for. He brings that element of pacing to this movie, saturating the earlier scenes with slow-burn slide guitar music and swelteringly slow shots of the Floridian landscape. Then suddenly, as Chief Whitlock becomes enmeshed in his race for time, so does the film's entire speed. That the audience stay on board through countless contrived chase sequences can be attributed mainly to Franklin keeping them there. Here he has a much less inspired story to work with, having to enlist some extra help from the actors. The supporting cast are convincing in their roles. Eva Mendes, who continues to show great on-screen promise, plays Whitlock's estranged wife. The two actors create just the right kind of chemistry as two people who are apart for good reason, it seems, but who still like each other enough to be able to have civilized conversations while working together on the murder investigation.

But the real glue holding the ordinariness together is Denzel Washington. Once again he has brought to the screen intelligence, wit, integrity and, yes, the likability quotient. He always seems to convey these appealing traits through his characters, including those we are not meant to like at all. Even in Training Day, where he played a dirty, despicable cop, much of the movie focused on his character's ability to convince his partner and us that he was doing the right thing. In Out of Time, Denzel's Whitlock is a sympathetic character, to be sure. He is generally respected by the members of the county he runs. We forgive him his faults, as we do the poor decisions he makes while painting himself into a seemingly inescapable corner. Then as the film progresses, and as his methods of extrication go from unscrupulous to outright illegal, we wonder aloud why we have been on his side through the whole thing. This man may not be a sinner, but neither is he the picture of saintliness. It doesn't seem to wash, but there you have it. But Denzel pulls it off through the whole movie, gracing Chief Whitlock with virtuous, sympathetic qualities he does not possess.

Toward the end of the movie, anyone paying attention to the clock would notice that the movie itself is almost out of time -- probably not nearly enough time to resolve the laundry list of problems Whitlock has burdened himself with. The film nonetheless scurries to its disappointing, pat resolution, careful to tighten most of the loose ends it can remember, but done with such brevity as to leave us all feeling a little pinched, and more than a little let down. This kind of pinched finish effectively washes away all of the potentially intriguing character dilemmas presented in the character of Matt Lee Whitlock. Still, the actor playing him is Denzel, so we don't mind feeling happy for him --in spite of his, and the film's, many shortcomings.
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6/10
Not worth keeping but worth a watch...
quatermax-18 February 2008
I'm pleased to admit that I knew nothing about this movie before I viewed it, which is actually quite refreshing. Wooed by this, the cast list and the tag-line 'How do you solve a murder when all the evidence points to you?' (yes, even we hardboiled cynics can fall for such things) I settled down in front of my TV with suitable munchies and a bottle of wine (an Australian Semillon Chardonnay called 'Hair of the Dingo', which I thoroughly recommend by the way) and waited to be entertained.

And waited.

Eventually, after a way too lengthy exposition (thank God I had the wine), the movie starts to, well, move. Suddenly I was on familiar territory: There's this Florida Police Chief (Washington) who, unbeknownst to his colleagues, has been having rumpy-pumpy (that's quite a clean euphemism in the UK by the way – so if I've offended anyone I apologise) with a married woman. She, and her husband, suddenly turn up dead in their burned out house and every bit of circumstantial evidence is pointing to him as prime suspect. At the crime scene he never mentions that he knows the victims, yet it very soon transpires that an eye witness has spotted him outside the house before it was torched; his cell phone number features prominently on the girl's phone bill; he's the new beneficiary of her $1,000,000 insurance policy, and, worse still, he's even borrowed evidence money in his charge to help his girl get cancer treatment, money which is now missing, and the feds are on their way to collect it. As the worst day in his life progresses his colleagues, led by his estranged wife, who's a detective (could it get any worse? Yes it does), are getting closer and closer to solving the case and putting him behind bars, while he is desperately trying to keep one step ahead of them by intercepting phone calls, concealing evidence etc., at the same time conducting his own investigation in an attempt to cover his tracks and clear his name.

I say familiar territory because it's basically a reworking of Costner and Hackman's 1987 NO WAY OUT scenario, which was itself a remake of 1948's THE BIG CLOCK with Ray Milland and Charles Laughton, and, once you accept the implausibility of the situation and the stupidity of Washington's character, it's not half bad, and though it has a few twists I didn't anticipate, the predictable ending is now a little clichéd and leaves too many loose ends for my liking.

Denzel Washington acquits himself well as Denzel Washington; a bearded Dean (SUPERMAN) Cain does a great, almost Colin Farrell quality, turn, refreshingly, as a villain; the girls are gorgeous; but the real star is ENTERPRISE's 'Dr. Phlox', the much underrated John Billingsley, as a beer guzzling baseball capped Medical Examiner (imagine an amalgam of Jack Klugman's Quincy and Oscar Madison characters), and the only one in on Washington's predicament. Director Franklin (DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS (also with Washington), and HIGH CRIMES) makes great visual use of the exotic and sultry Miami area locales.

Not worth keeping but worth a watch.
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9/10
Simple and effective
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU14 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
A simple thriller in which a woman is used as a piece of bait to get some drug money from a gullible cop who believes he is in love with her. The final twist is not what we could have hoped, but it sure is convincing about the dumbness of cops or even men when they get infatuated with love. But the interest of the film is essentially in the hectic chase-escape of one cop after-from another cop who happens to be his-her wife-husband. One thing is sure: as soon as a woman appears within his eye-range he loses all rational common sense and starts seeing butterflies landing on his nose. But it is funny and entertaining.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris Dauphine, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne & University Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines
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6/10
Fairly entertaining but far fetched
rosscinema18 July 2004
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of those innocent man in trouble stories that Alfred Hitchcock use to make but even with all the plot contrivances this is still a pretty entertaining film that benefits from the star power of it's lead actor. Story takes place in Banyon Key, Florida where we see Police Chief Matt Whitlock (Denzel Washington) who is going through a divorce and having an affair with his high school sweetheart Ann Harrison (Sanaa Lathan) who is married. Ann's husband Chris (Dean Cain) suspects that Matt and his wife are seeing each other and they have many volatile confrontations. Ann is diagnosed with terminal cancer so Matt gives her $500,000 of impounded drug money from the stations safe and he plans on replacing it with the money from an insurance policy where Ann has named him as the benefactor.

*****SPOILER ALERT*****

Suddenly Ann and Chris die in a fire and Matt's wife Alexandra (Eva Mendes) is the homicide detective put in charge and after trailing after her on her investigation he learns that Ann never had cancer and the doctor that handled her case is a phony. Also, the feds show up and want the impounded money so now Matt must play a cat and mouse game with both the feds and his wife. Alexandra doesn't suspect her Chief of Police husband but after a while the clues finally start to point to him.

This film is directed by Carl Franklin who has worked with Washington before on "Devil in a Blue Dress" and he's a good and capable director that always creates good atmosphere in his films and this is no exception. The hot and steamy location in Florida helps establish a tense momentum to the story and it definitely has a modern film noir feel to it. There are many things in the script that are just impossible to believe but it doesn't hamper the tension that is created by both Franklin and Washington. Mendes is unconvincing as both a homicide detective in charge and as the wife. The final scene in the film where she comes back to Washington is preposterous and you would think that after learning about all the wrong things that he has committed would just convince her that he is wrong to be around. But no, Hollywood just has to tack on one of those goofy feel good endings that defy logic! But this is still pretty entertaining and Washington's screen persona can make even the most silly of films watchable and one cannot help but root for him even though he bungles about making obvious bad decisions. Another good performance in the film comes from John Billingsley as the medical examiner Chae and we should all be so lucky as to have someone like him watching our backs. The highlight of the film is watching Washington sneak about trying to hide phone records and running out of back doors to beat his wife to the scene of investigations. Story is full of implausibilities and contrivances but with a good performance by Washington and solid direction by Franklin it's perfectly okay to overlook it's flaws and still be entertained.
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6/10
Decent Movie with Strong Performances
mwendel25 January 2004
This is yet another cops and robbers whodunit movie. The movie features solid performances by Denzel Washington (as Matt Lee Whitlock) and Eva Menedes (as Alex Diaz Whitlock) playing the separated couple each working their own angle on the crime that occurs. With excellent supporting work by John Billingsley (as Chae, the medical examiner), Dean Cain (as Chris Harrison), and Sanaa Lathan (as Ann Merai Harrison) this movie keeps you guessing until the end.

There are some interesting plot twists at the end of the movie which you may or may not figure out by the end. I think the climax of the movie could have been a little more fluid, but it works and I think its satisfying to the viewers. I found this movie to be above average compared to much of the standard fare that has been offered in 2003, especially, because I didn't look at my watch once during the entire film.
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Predictable, contrived plot!
lbonavita14 October 2003
I went to the theater expecting to see a somewhat decent movie based on the various reviews that were out. What I saw was a movie that has been made 1,000 times before. Unless you are very dense, the whole movie is given away in the first 15 minutes. It is so obvious as to what is going on and there is no suspense whatsoever!

This movie was just plain bad. Denzel really couldn't save this tired contrived plot!

3/10
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5/10
It seemed like a good movie, but why do I feel like it's not that original?
Kristine18 April 2006
I've seen tons and tons of the surprise shocking endings in films: The Sixth Sense, Life of David Gale, High Crimes, Kiss the Girls, etc., etc., etc. Out of Time over all is a decent thriller that you don't mind watching on a Monday night, but there are some unrealistic moments that I just didn't buy. The "love story" between Eva and Denzel wasn't clicking, they just didn't have any passion or chemistry that grabbed me. The sidekick type of guy was more annoying than witty and a character that makes you feel something. But there are some very exciting moments, and like I said, it keeps you going until the end. So, judge for yourself.

5/10
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