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Out of Time
2003 - PG-13 - 114 Mins.
Director: Carl Franklin
Producer: Jesse Beaton, Jon Berg, Alex Gartner, Neal H. Moritz
Starring: Denzel Washington, Eva Mendes, Sanaa Lathan, Dean Cain, Alex Carter
Review by: Joe Rickey
Matt Lee Whitlock, the well-regarded chief of police in small Banyan Key, Florida, must solve a brutal double homicide before he himself falls under suspicion. He has to stay a few steps ahead of his own police force and anyone and everyone he thought that he could trust in order to find out the truth in Out of Time, directed by Carl Franklin (High Crimes) and starring Denzel Washington and Eva Mendes.

Denzel Washington has had a great career in Hollywood. From starring in early Spike Lee films to winning an Oscar for Training Day, he has much success in film. He has even done what is becoming quite common by branching off into directing with Antwone Fisher, a well-received drama released in 2002. Out of Time marks the first time that Washington cashed a twenty million dollar paycheck for his acting services. With such a high monetary risk invested in Washington alone, does Out of Time deliver as an entertaining film?

Clichéd. That is the first word that comes to mind after viewing Out of Time. The plot is a completely formulaic mystery not unlike City by the Sea and Blood Work, two other high profile cop films of the last couple of years. The storyline proceeds in what is a mostly predictable fashion with the supposed twists usually telegraphed in advance of actually occurring. This lessens the supposedly thrilling aspect of the film.

Director Carl Franklin paces the film quite well. The film keeps moving through obvious plot twist after obvious plot twist so quickly that it is almost enough to forgive the fact that the screenplay fails to address the plot holes. There are multiple storylines that are never really tied up in a satisfactory fashion. Had the screenplay gone through some rewrites the problem areas could have likely disappeared or at least been lessened. The characterizations also are lacking in original personality traits because there seems to have been a deliberate withholding of details in order to add some mystique to the proceedings. Unfortunately, all that is accomplished is frustration on the part of the viewer. There is the inherent need to know more about each character in most films. Unless you are going for something along the lines of Mulholland Dr., it is lazy to not tell the audience sufficient information.

However, Denzel Washington ably brings his usual respectability to his been there, done that persona. He brings a sense of gravitas and excitement to the film that isn’t written into the script. Supporting performances are also solid from the likes of Eva Mendes and Sanaa Lathan.

The cinematography fits the noir feel of the film well. The music is adequately suspenseful.

Overall, Out of Time features a solid group of performances from a talented cast but suffers from a stolid and incessantly obvious script that undermines much of the good to be found in the film.
Movie Guru Rating
Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable. Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable. Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable.
  2.5 out of 5 stars

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