BluRay/DVD Reviews

OUT OF TIME

By • Jan 6th, 2004 •

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Released by MGM in the U.S. and by Momentum Pictures in the U.K.
2003. 105 mins

I’m pleased to admit that I knew nothing about this movie before I viewed it, which is actually quite refreshing in my line of work. Wooed by this, the cast list and the tag-line ‘How do you solve a murder when all the evidence points to you?’ (yes, even we hardboiled cynics can fall for such things) I settled down in front of my TV with suitable munchies and a bottle of wine (an Australian Semillon Chardonnay called ‘Hair of the Dingo’, which I thoroughly recommend by the way) and waited to be entertained.

And waited.

Eventually, after a way too lengthy exposition (thank God I had the wine), the movie starts to, well, move. Suddenly I was on familiar territory: There’s this Florida Police Chief (Washington) who, unbeknownst to his colleagues, has been having rumpy-pumpy (that’s quite a clean euphemism in the UK by the way – so if I’ve offended anyone I apologize) with a married woman. She, and her husband, suddenly turn up dead in their burned out house and every bit of circumstantial evidence is pointing to him as prime suspect. At the crime scene he never mentions that he knows the victims, yet it very soon transpires that an eye witness has spotted him outside the house before it was torched; his cell phone number features prominently on the girl’s phone bill; he’s the new beneficiary of her $1,000,000 insurance policy, and, worse still, he’s even borrowed evidence money in his charge to help his girl get cancer treatment, money which is now missing, and the feds are on their way to collect it. As the worst day in his life progresses his colleagues, led by his estranged wife, who’s a detective (could it get any worse? Yes it does), are getting closer and closer to solving the case and putting him behind bars, while he is desperately trying to keep one step ahead of them by intercepting phone calls, concealing evidence etc., at the same time conducting his own investigation in an attempt to cover his tracks and clear his name.

I say familiar territory because it’s basically a reworking of Costner and Hackman’s 1987 NO WAY OUT scenario, which was itself a remake of 1948’s THE BIG CLOCK with Ray Milland and Charles Laughton, and, once you accept the implausibility of the situation and the stupidity of Washington’s character, it’s not half bad, and though it has a few twists I didn’t anticipate, the predictable ending is now a little clichéd and leaves too many loose ends for my liking.

Denzel Washington acquits himself well as Denzel Washington; a bearded Dean (SUPERMAN) Cain does a great, almost Colin Farrell quality, turn, refreshingly, as a villain; the girls are gorgeous; but the real star is ENTERPRISE’s ‘Dr. Phlox’, the much underrated John Billingsley, as a beer guzzling baseball capped Medical Examiner (imagine an amalgam of Jack Klugman’s Quincy and Oscar Madison characters), and the only one in on Washington’s predicament.

Director Franklin (DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS [also with Washington], and HIGH CRIMES) makes great visual use of the exotic and sultry Miami area locales.

Special features are the usual trailers, a director’s commentary, some frankly boring screen tests, and a couple of bland outtakes.

Not worth keeping but worth a watch.


Cast:
Denzel Washington
Eva Mendes
Sanaa Lathan
Dean Cain
John Billingsley

Credits:
Directed by Carl Franklin
Written by Dave Collard
Produced by Jesse B’Franklin
Music by Graeme Revell
Edited by Carole Kravetz.

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