A terrific Hitchcockian thriller!
M J Heilbron Jr. | Long Beach, CA United States | 01/19/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is probably the most Hitchcockian thriller to come down the pike in a decade or so. You have the flawed man unjustly accused. You have a femme fatale who may or may not be dead. Thorny relationships with women. Atmosphere by the bucketload. Sexy, slightly violent, a tad morbid, bundles of wit and humor.
This was a sadly ignored film during its' theatrical run. Denzel does his canon proud with another strong performance. While it's not flashy or subtle, it's exactly what the film demands. It fits.
The women are, putting it bluntly, absolutely smoking hot. Eva Mendes and Sanaa Lathan are fine actresses, and do nice work here. But in often skimpy clothes in that Miami wet heat, they could recite the phone book and most males would be entranced.
Dean Cain is terrific as "the bad guy". His scenes with Denzel show him stepping up to the plate admirably. You'd expect Washington to blow him off the screen...and he doesn't. At all.
The screenplay has some nice twists and turns. A veteran moviegoer will recognize or anticipate a few of them, but I guarantee there will be several scenes or lines that'll raise everyone's eyebrows. It's not perfect; there are some clunky lines sprinkled here and there.
Carl Franklin is a talented director, no question, and this simply will add to his reputation. Again, not flashy, but this story will perfectly told.
A special mention is necessary on behalf of John Billingsley. This movie will have people sitting up saying, "who IS this guy?" He's an absolute laugh riot. Every time he's on the screen he's hysterical. His lines have the same improvisatory feel that Bill Murray's did in "Tootsie" (which most were, apparently).
This is a perfect movie for adults interested in an awesome crime thriller."
GOOD FLORIDA NOIR FROM WASHINGTON AND CO.
K. Jump | Corbin, KY United States | 05/09/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
""Out of Time" is the story of Banyan Keys chief of police Whitlock (Denzel Washington), a man in the middle of a divorce he does not want. Whitlock turns to his old high-school sweetheart, Ann Harrison (Sanaa Lathan) for solace, only to learn that she has terminal cancer and cannot afford the alternative treatment that might be her only hope. Whitlock can't just watch Ann die, so he steals a large chunk of money he bagged in a drug bust from his own department and lets her have it. But then Ann and her abusive husband Chris (Dean Cain)go up in smoke in an apparent arson, triggering a legal fallout that leaves Whitlock struggling to tie up all the loose ends as his life unravels around him. "Out of Time" is a somewhat formulaic but still successful mystery/suspenser that slowly pulls the viewer into the web along with Chief Whitlock until there's no escape. Fans of this kind of movie will see a lot of familiar set-ups and plot devices, but the strong cast makes the story work as a whole even if you think you've got it all figured out. Washington's hapless cop is unfailingly appealing, even if he is guilty of some terrible lapses in judgment (but then aren't we all from time to time?). Cain and Lathan likewise do well with their roles, and Eva Mendes is a standout as Whitlock's estranged wife, a homicide detective in her own right who slowly discovers more than she wants to about her husband's role in the Harrison case. Will Whitlock be able to put the puzzle together in time to save his skin from a looming murder rap? And will Mendes help pull him out of the fire, or push him all the way under? You can't stop watching til you know the answers.The film's seedy, noirish atmosphere is a great plus as well, and if it's not original "Out of Time" is still entertaining. Overall it's worth 3.5 stars, and certainly a movie you want to watch at least once if you like mystery or suspense films. Like many of its kind, however, it may not hold up to multiple viewings once you've learned the secrets, so it may be one to rent rather than buy. Either way, it's a great way to energize a lazy evening."
No Way Out of Time
itsmenikkip | 03/07/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Denzel Washington desperately trying to stay one step ahead of being discovered by the authorities was strongly reminiscent of Kevin Costner attempting the same in "No Way Out". I must say that, overall, this film was better than the Costner film.
Still, it was underwhelming; much of it was predictable. Also, if the viewer who might be rooting for Denzel's character steps back for a minute, what he sees is a corrupt cop who doesn't deserve a happy ending. Just because he's Denzel and we all like Denzel (as we all like Tom Hanks and a few others) doesn't mean we should be sympathetic to his character (likewise John Billingsley's character, who was quirky and funny -- but also unethical and immoral).
As long as I'm nitpicking, here's my favorite scene: Denzel's sexy ex-wife, kicking in the locked door to the men's room with the high heels that she wore with her tight skirt and the rest of her professional detective outfit. Yeah -- that's realistic."
Gripping Thriller. Not Washington's Best, but taut drama
B. Marold | Bethlehem, PA United States | 08/30/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"`Out of Time', a Denzel Washington thriller showcase directed by Carl Franklin is an object lesson in how to put a character into a bad situation, then turn up the heat until it seems he cannot escape his predicament, and he feels the pressure all the more so because it was created to a great extent through his own mistakes. It is easy to put heroic people into desperate situations, subject to terror and the brink of death, yet their entire predicament is for a just cause. The feeling you have, for example, for Frodo and Samwise on the slopes of Mount Doom surrounded by lava is quite different from the feelings you have for Washington's character. This is true not the least because it is so much easier to associate with a person bound in a web of his own mistakes than it is with a hobbit bound in the web of a giant spider.
This is the stuff that tragedies are made from, except that instead of being destroyed by the situation of his own making; the hero does manage to make it out in the nick of time. The best part of his ultimate liberation is that it is brought about by the help of a very good friend who covers for him on two critical points in the story without even being asked and with an assist from his estranged wife who also happens to be a police officer working on the case which drives the plot.
Washington is the chief of police for a small town on a small Florida key island, very similar to his role in his earlier movie `The Mighty Quinn'. His recently separated wife is a homicide lieutenant in some much larger, overlapping jurisdiction, possibly the Miami / Dade police force. Washington's best friend is the local medical examiner. In the opening of the movie, it is revealed that Washington is having an affair with an extremely attractive local dental technician married to a former NFL football player who is currently employed as a security guard at the local hospital. It is also revealed that Washington has about 450 thousand dollars in cash in his office safe confiscated from a recent drug bust.
The main action of the story is set in motion when Washington's mistress talks Washington to accompany her to her oncologist who reveals that an earlier malignancy has reoccurred and is in an incurable state. After the expected distress, compounded by what is believed to is an abusive husband, the woman signs a 1 million-dollar life insurance policy over to Washington as beneficiary. Washington, thinking the drug money will be tied up in court procedures for months, turns it over to his girlfriend in order to get expensive experimental treatment for cancer. Shortly thereafter, bodies of girlfriend and husband are found in the ruins of their house set on fire by arson shortly after a witness sees Washington running away from the victims' house.
All this easily adds up to evidence against Washington, giving him clear means, motive, and opportunity. The pressure mounts as Washington's wife is assigned the case and sets up shop in the town's little police station, right outside Washington's office. The pressure gets turned up as the head of the Miami DEA office calls Washington for the drug money and wants it `yesterday'. So, the second act is largely Washington desperately working at staying one step ahead of both his wife and the DEA.
The average viewer will figure out part of the mystery with little trouble, but I won't spoil the fun by revealing it here. The full story, however, is not revealed until the very end. And, the construction of the problem for Washington and his being able to resolve it at the very last minute makes great entertainment spiced up by the very believable situation. There is an almost dreamlike quality to Washington's predicament. No matter what he does, things just seem to get worse, without quite catching up to him.
The resolution between Washington and his wife after the case is closed seems a bit improbable, but I can live with that. This is by far the most excitement I have experienced with a PG-13 movie in quite a long time. The writers were even able to keep the body count down, limited to the immediate perps of the crime.
Highly recommended for all with reasonably good nerves.