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Out Of Time
cast: Denzel Washington, Eva Mendes, Dean Cain, John Billingsley, and Sanaa Lathan

director: Carl Franklin

101 minutes (15) 2003
widescreen ratio 1.85:1
Momentum DVD Region 2 rental or retail
Also available to rent or buy on video
[released 10 May]

RATING: 8/10
reviewed by John Percival
Matt Whitlock (Denzel Washington) is the chief of police in the small community of Banyan Key, Florida. When the town is shocked by a double murder Matt finds he is implicated in the crime and has to solve the murders while staying a few steps ahead of his own police force. Filmed in the standard lazy sunset wash like most Southern USA movies, it is not an outstanding offering but it does contain just enough gripping moments be an enjoyable thriller.
   The story is pretty much standard, an innocent guy gets mixed up in a crime after falling for the wrong girl and then he must prove his innocence. However he has to keep one step ahead as Whitlock has to prevent himself from being linked to the crime at all costs and in the process solve the mystery. But just how innocent is Whitlock? His is separated from his wife, Alex (Eva Mendez) apparently unable to deal with her high profile job as a homicide detective in Miami. Also he is sleeping with an old high school flame Ann Merai (Sanaa Lathan), who is now married to a violent ex-football player Chris Harrison (Dean Cain). Even though Ann Merai claims to be dying of cancer and dupes Matt into stealing drug bust money from the evidence locker to pay for treatment, he was still the one that took the money.
   The sleepy town of Banyan Key provides an excellent backdrop for the story as it is a small community where everyone knows each other, it provides no place for Whitlock to hide, and because the people he works with are also friends it makes it very difficult for him to deceive them.
   John Billingsley as Chae is the friendly and dependable but also morally ambiguous medical examiner. Probably better known as Dr Phlox on Enterprise, Billingsley provides the comic relief to Washington's serious situation. After winning an Oscar for his performance in Training Day this must represent a downshift for Washington, as much like the Florida atmosphere he is too relaxed. Dean Cain, who has worked consistently since Lois & Clark but on nothing really memorable, seems to enjoy the role as Harrison, Chief Whitlock's rival. He works well as the violent husband disappointed that his football career has ended and now working as a security guard. He is fully involved in the plot to dupe Whitlock and he hides the duplicity well until all is revealed.
   This type of film has been many times before, but the rich setting and great camerawork give it a much newer feel. Washington and director Carl Franklin have worked together before on Devil In A Blue Dress (1995). Franklin was never going to be able to bring us a truly outstanding piece using this material but with a good cast and some good tension he has delivered an enjoyable film which nobody will regret watching.
   This DVD is packed with some interesting extras including an audio commentary and crime scene examination. There are also the usual collection of trailers and gallery offerings, but my personal favourites are the outtakes and screen tests from Dean Cain and Sanaa Lathan.

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