Out of Time (2003)
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Review Date: October 04, 2003
Director: Carl Franklin
Writer: David Collard
Producers: Jesse Beaton, Neal H. Moritz
Denzel Washington as Matt
Eva Mendes as Alex
Sanna Lathan as Anne
A local small town sheriff is in the process of getting a divorce from his wife, while messing around with a married woman on the side. When he finds out that his mistress is dying of cancer, he "borrows" some seized drug money from his station, in the hopes of helping her out. When she and her husband turn up dead the next day, the chase is on and our local sheriff is up to his eyeballs in evidence pointing against him. Denzel Washington in colorful shirts...ensues.
This is one fine thriller. I'm a big fan of films that keep you at the edge of your seat for most of their way and OUT OF TIME is in exactly that genre of filmmaking. It starts off slow, gives you a little bit of background on the main players, a hint or two about what might happen, some talk about an insurance policy, a husband who beats his wife, extra-curricular marital activities...and then, drops a bomb on us and the lead character, who spends the rest of the time trying to remain one step ahead of Johnny Law. If you liked Kevin Costner's NO WAY OUT (I loved it), this film is sure to entertain you all the way through with a great tempo once things switch into full-blown "investigatory gear" as Denzel Washington (your everyman) is caught between a rock and tons of evidence stacking up against him. Washington does his dependable job of maintaining a true air of his character the whole way through, and despite not delivering anything Oscar-worthy (the film is really more of a neat little thriller anyway), does pull you into his man's burgeoning dilemma, as he tracks, jumps, runs and navigates his way through a number of close calls, all of which provide for mucho nail-biting and believable twists (at least, until you think about some of them afterwards). I don't think anyone is going to use the word "original" to describe this film's plot, but heck, sometimes even the most basic formula works for thrillers as long as you give the audience characters to care about, a touch of mystery, suspense and hotties (and I'm not just talking about Washington!)

Consider Sanaa Lathan, who sizzles up the screen as Denzel's love-connection, and even sexier, Eva Mendes, my new Hollywood crush, who despite not having the "classic beauty" of other actresses, oozed enough heat, sex appeal and sensuality to force me to move chairs three times during my screening (don't ask). If I had a dollar for every time I caught myself staring at her luscious posterior, I swear that I could buy myself a goddamn new car...and an expensive one at that! But enough drooling over Eva. It's to note that the "funny sidekick" in this film, played brilliantly by John Billingsley, was also quite amusing and provided the pic which just that touch of levity that it required. I'm not so sure I bought a medical examiner being that much of a goof and drunk, but hey...you gotta let some shit slide if you want to enjoy a film all the way through, right? I was also happy to see Superman in the film (actor Dean Cain), especially since he pulled off the part and played "against type"...which is hard to do in this biz. The film's ending, on the other hand, was definitely a little contrived and even though I was hooked, lined and sinkered by then, I couldn't help but feel a tad disappointed with what turned out to be a fairly obvious denouement (consider the earlier convo about the cell phone tracking device) The local connection between many of the leads also worked for me, as the small Florida town, its laid-back atmosphere and gorgeous locations, helped turn the film into a comfortable little yarn. So even though it didn't necessarily bowl me over with its twists or surprises, it did entertain me all the way through and for such a "man wrongfully accused" type of thriller, that's pretty much all that I was looking for. Oh yeah, and did I mention Eva Mendes' sweet behind? I did? Well, it's worth mentioning again!
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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