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:: Out Of Time

Life in the town of Banyan Key, Florida seems fairly pedestrian. Matthias (Matt) Whitlock, played by Denzel Washington, is the police chief who is generally an honourable guy in the community. He has been lauded recently for a successful drug bust. His life at the police station is not too dramatic, though, that he can spend some quality time with his lover Ann Merai Harrison (Sanaa Latham) whenever her husband Chris (Dean Cain) is away. Matt is separated from his wife Alex Diaz-Whitlock (Eva Mendes).

Things start to turn messy when “other woman” Ann discovers that she has cancer and needs a lot of money for experimental treatment. That recent drug bust had netted $US485,000 and the money was being kept in custody at the police station. Matt decides to give Ann the drug money, only to find out that the wool has been pulled over his eyes as she skipped town. Matt must now try to retrieve the money, all the while trying not to be implicated when Ann’s house burns down. Matt is also dodging higher level enquiries about the money, and tempering the efforts of ex-wife Alex who has been assigned as lead investigator in the fire and the two bodies that were found.

Alex takes up the investigation with Matt a not altogether co-operating ally. Ann’s insurance papers showed Matt as the beneficiary and Alex tries very hard to believe that Matt wasn’t involved in the deaths. Things get worse when he has to hand over the drug money to the authorities. The action and the twisting story are relentless. As Matt Whitlock’s wits and words get him out of spot after spot, the turns that are taken keep you guessing until the end where the final hammer is dropped.

Director Carl Franklin makes the suspense work. Much of the entertainment value is in Denzel Washington’s anxious portrayal of the guilt-ridden innocent. He proves again that he is one of the top actors of this time. Dean Cain, not seen much since his Clark Kent days on TV, is a surprise as a creepy, menacing character. He is convincing as a “bad guy”. Comedy relief is well provided by Chae (John Billingsley). He is the medical examiner at the police station. Eva Mendes is a potential Hollywood star. She is sexy and sultry. Although she and Sanaa Latham were good, their roles could probably have been switched. Eva has more of the look of “the other woman”.

‘Out Of Time’ is about redemption and trying to do the right thing. It’s a nicely made thriller with the only thing lacking being a beefier ending.