Out of Time Review
By Shawn McKenzie 10/03/2003
A trailer for a movie can make all the difference, but when you have a movie like the twisty Out of Time, it can be difficult to make.
Matt Lee Whitlock (Denzel Washington) is the chief-of-police of the small town of Banyan Key, Florida. He has been seeing Anne Merai Harrison (Sanaa Lathan) while still technically married to his wife, Alex Diaz-Whitlock (Eva Mendes), a woman who has just recently made detective for the Miami Police Department. Matt and Alex are separated and almost divorced, and despite seeing Anne, he might still pine for Alex. Anne is also married, and her husband, Chris (Dean Cain), an ex-NFL football quarterback who now works as an orderly in the hospital, seemingly abuses her. Matt accomplished a successful and high profile drug bust a year ago, and now they have the $485,000 in seized drug money locked up as state’s evidence. Matt’s co-worker friend, Chae (John Billingsley), the medical examiner, makes a joke that they should take the money and use it to go into business together. Matt dismisses the idea, but it enters his head again after accompanying Anne to see Dr. Freeland (Alex Carter.) The doctor tells her that she has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Anne later finds out about a clinic in Switzerland that could help her, but it is too expensive. Matt decides to loan her the drug money, because he figures that no one will need to use it for evidence for a while, so he will have plenty of time to replace it. Things go horribly wrong when Anne and Chris’s house goes up in flames and supposedly kills them, along with the money. Even though he is innocent of the arson and murder, a couple of things make him the prime suspect. First, Matt was spotted by the nosy old lady next door the night before, and second, Anne had made Matt the beneficiary on her $1 million life insurance policy. To make matters worse, Miami DEA agent White (Veryl Jones) calls him demanding the drug money immediately as evidence in another case. Matt races to stay ahead of the homicide detectives, led by Alex, and cover up the tracks of his involvement as he tries to figure out what really happened.
Why would this movie’s trailer be difficult to make? Well, if you truly want to make a good trailer, you peak the interest of the audience without revealing any important plot points. For this movie, revealing anything past the first 30 minutes would spoil the movie. Aside from a few exciting scenes (like the one with Washington hanging off the balcony), they didn’t have much to play with, so it appeared to be a relatively bland movie. That is definitely not the case here.
Everyone does a great job, but this is Washington’s movie. I haven’t seen his previous collaboration with director Carl Franklin called Devil in a Blue Dress, but if it is anything like this one, I might check it out. He isn’t exactly a bad guy in this movie, but not the most moral man on the planet. I doubt he will get an Oscar for this as he did the last time he played a bad guy in Training Day, but he obviously has a knack for it. I still want to see him in a comedy though (that doesn’t co-star with Whitney Houston.)
Billingsley is the movie’s comic scene-stealer. I had to admit that I kept picturing his character of Dr. Phlox from “Star Trek: Enterprise” while watching him, but occasionally he would stand out beyond that.
Don’t be fooled by the trailer, Out of Time is worth checking out. It will keep you on your feet as Washington’s character unfolds the conspiracy surrounding him. I keep telling people (apparently not the right people) that every filmmaker needs to get the trailer editor for director M. Night Shyamalan’s movies. The trailer for his last movie, Signs, made it look like it was a better movie than it turned out to be, but it got butts in those seats. Maybe he could have done the same for this movie.
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