Denzel Washington makes up for John Q with Out of Time, a poorly-titled yet ultimately entertaining thriller from director Carl Franklin.
Washington, who last teamed with Franklin in the excellent Devil in a Blue Dress, stars as Matt Whitlock, the sheriff of a small town outside of Miami. On the verge of divorce, he has found solace with a local woman (Sanaa Lathan) who he soon finds out is dying of cancer. In one decisive moment, he steals nearly half a million dollars from the evidence room to pay for her treatment, only to be double-crossed. Suddenly, his life is turned upside down when her house is burned down and the only witness has named him as the perpetrator, with the money nowhere in sight. To make matters worse, the DEA has requested the money to be transferred into their possession later that day. In other words, he is f**cked.
Out of Time succeeds in its capability to entertain at any level. It has its fair share of comedy, but the comedy is interlaced into an otherwise serious script. Washington, who is excellent in just about everything he does (John Q aside), shows full range and compliments the script. Furthermore, it is suspenseful, especially since it is unclear as to how Washington is going to get out of the mess he has created for himself.
Of course, the suspense derives from his character's stupidity. Washington's character does so many ludicrous and illogical things that I almost wanted him to get caught at the end of it all just to rid the world of such stupidity, but nonetheless director Franklin creates excitement around such a character.
Aside from a stupid lead character, Out of Time does have a few other flaws that, depending on the audience, vary in severity. The movie is somewhat predictable, mainly due to the fact that the previews show the big twist. The ending is also a bit formulaic, and the bad guys' performances are fairly bland. Also, some of the things that Washington does to avoid detection (such as scanning a fax, deleting some entries, and then re-faxing the papers) don't make much sense.
Oh well. Out of Time isn't perfect, but is entertaining and thrilling, and features yet another good performance from Washington as well as the beautiful Eva Mendes, who makes up for Once Upon a Time in Mexico and 2 Fast 2 Furious (two other movies this year in which she plays law enforcement agents). Anyone who likes old school thrillers should enjoy this fun movie.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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