Out of Time seemed to be, for me, just something to kill time until Kill Bill comes out next Friday. I had mixed feelings about seeing it, but this tense thriller turned out to be definitely worth the price of admission. Besides, when was the last time you've seen Denzel Washington in a bad movie? OK, John Q didn't set the world on fire, but no one's perfect, right?
One of the reasons I was skeptical about this movie was because it seemed like an elongated episode of what I think is the best show on television, "The Shield." I just didn't want to see a dull version of the great show, with Denzel substituted for Michael Chiklis. But this movie is just as sharp as the TV show, although there is some corny comic relief and a fairly dull ending, although it doesn't take too much away from this taut, entertaining movie.We get the idea right away that Matt Lee Whitlock (Washington) isn't exactly Cop of the Year material. He's drinking a beer in his office when he gets a call that someone has broken into a woman's house. But there was no break in, as the call was a signal for Whitlock to come over and engage in an affair with another man's wife. Not exactly a role model for the community. But he is a good cop, just off a recent successful drug bust, and having custody of $485,000 in drug money. But when "the other woman" (Lathan) finds out she has cancer and needs a lot of money for some experimental treatment, Whitlock gives her the drug money, only to find out that the wool has been pulled over his eyes as she skipped town with the money. Now Whitlock must try to get the money back, all the while trying not to be implicated when her house burns down, dodging the inquiries of the DEA and his ex-wife (Mendes).
There is some nice acting here, with yet another solid performance from Washington. He proves yet again that he is one of the top actors of our time with his nice performance as the in-over-his-head Whitlock. His character is almost straight out of a script of "The Shield" because he's, basically, a cop who strives for the good of people and the community, even if he has to do some shady things to accomplish this.
The most surprising performance comes from golden boy Dean Cain, in his first role, that I'm aware of, as a bad guy. He does a great job in shedding the cape and glasses of Clark Kent for his role as Chris Harrison, an ex-quarterback who's wife, Anne, is having an affair with Whitlock. He has a really creepy/spooky look to him and he is very convincing as a bad guy, which I wouldn't expect from him, but was refreshing to see. I had about the same reaction from Cain's performance that I had from James Van Der Beek's performance in the marvelous, underrated Rules of Attraction, where he sheds his Dawson persona with every sinister look and swig of Jack Daniel's.Every movie has to have some form of comic relief, and it's provided here from John Billingsly's Chae character.
Well, comic relief is provided most of the time from Chae. Chae, a wise-cracking medical examiner who smokes cigarettes more than anyone I've seen in the movies recently, can be pretty funny, with a nice comic delivery. But he isn't as consistently funny as he should've been and it got a tad annoying.
Sanaa Lathan's performance as Anne wasn't that great also, and she was so jumpy and jittery that it almost felt like an odd homage to Shelley Duvall's Wendy character in The Shining.First-time writer David Collard has written a pretty solid screenplay with some nice dialogue, except some of Chae's, and a nice tense story to it. I think he could've toned down Chae's character a bit, and the movie ends rather poorly, but the script is pretty tight, with a nice use of tension and drama.
Director Carl Franklin is pretty good at making movies that are good, but that you probably won't have a desire to see again (See: High Crimes). This one is good, but I don't think I'd be adding it to my DVD collection when it comes out on video. Franklin uses some nice camera angles, including a great scene where Washington is hanging from a balcony, and works with his actors and actresses nicely.
Out of Time is a movie about redemption and trying to do the right thing, even though you started out doing the wrong thing. It's a nicely made thriller that, if you're a fan of "The Shield," will be a nice way to kill time before the third season.