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Out of Time

Starring: Denzel Washington
Director: Carl Franklin
Genre: Thriller
Year: 2003
Rating: 3 / 5

Denzel Washington is one of the most compelling actors working today, a man whose mere presence commands our attention. He is an easy man to root for, even when his characters shade a little on the gray side. Such is the case in Out of Time, Washington’s second pairing with director Carl Franklin. The two craft a tale of a small-town sheriff in way over his head when a murder investigation seems to identify him as the chief suspect. A couple years removed from his Oscar-winning turn as a crooked cop in Training Day, Washington dials it down to a more morally ambiguous level, still keeping enough fire to power Franklin’s twisting thriller.

Sheriff Matt Whitlock (Denzel Washington) presides over Banyon Key, a sleep town in the southern part of Florida. Nothing much happens in town short of petty theft and jaywalking. Spicing up the nightlife is Matt’s affair with Ann (Sanaa Lathan), the unhappy wife of former football player Chris (Dean Cain). There is no love lost between Matt and the one-time jock, but the secret affair keeps these tensions boiling beneath the surface. Complicating matters is Matt’s failing marriage with Alex (Eva Mendes), a separation that is on the fast track to divorce. A new case will force the two to work together again, however, and put new strains on their relationship.

Matt’s affair with Ann, more on the steamy side than actually substantive, takes a sudden turn when Ann learns that cancer is ravaging her body. She only has a few months to live, and only radical, expensive therapies remain as a viable option for her. Matt just so happens to have collected almost half a million dollars via a recent drug bust, money that is sitting untouched in his office safe. When Anne mentions that she is rewriting her life insurance policy to name him the chief benefactor, he decides to “borrow” the drug money. Problems arise when the charred bodies of Ann & Chris are found after their house burns, with all evidence pointing squarely at the sheriff.

Denzel Washington may have finally gotten the recognition he deserved with his recent Oscar, but a lot of his lesser known films are still overlooked. Like Fallen some years prior, Out of Time is a clever thriller that delivers on its promises. Granted, the film’s chief twist is revealed not halfway through the film, and numerous implausible situations conspire to keep Matt one step ahead of the game, but the film does skip along rather briskly. We know Matt is innocent, but no one else does, and the steps he takes to escape suspicion are alternately clever and outrageous. Denzel Washington ensures that Matt will find his answers before he runs Out of Time.


Denzel Washington..........Matt Whitlock
Eva Mendes..........Alexandra Cole
Sanaa Lathan..........Ann
Dean Cain..........Chris
John Billingsley..........Chae

Certification: Rated PG-13 for violence and language.
Running Time: 105 minutes.

Additional Info: Internet Movie Database
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