Police chief Matthias Whitlock is having a very bad day. He's prime suspect in a double homicide and needs to find $475,000 to replace the evidence money he unwisely loaned his now-dead mistress before the DEA find out. If this wasn't enough, his estranged wife Alex, newly graduated to the homicide department, is the investigating officer on the case.

Reuniting star Denzel Washington with Devil In A Blue Dress director Carl Franklin, Out Of Time is one of those films that promises more than it delivers. The deliberately slow pace of the early scenes establishes mood and character, allowing the viewer to understand the ambitious Alex needing to depart the small town of Banyan Key, Florida, and that the overconfident, not-as-smart-as-he-thinks Whitlock is the classic fall guy for a spot of Double Indemnity-style deception.

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Then Franklin loses his way as the film increasingly descends to the level of an action/comedy/farce, without you ever thinking he intended this.

Long-term Franklin fans will also be disappointed by the film's paucity of social comment. Race, a prominent theme in One False Move and Devil In A Blue Dress, is all but absent, excepting a telling moment where an elderly white woman, who correctly identifies Whitlock as a prowler, has her evidence discredited when she is befuddled into making a "they all look alike" remark. Perhaps this is a good thing, another sign of an increasingly integrated and harmonious community, but, even so, it reminds you that Franklin, like John Sayles, is one of those filmmakers who can be thought-provoking without sacrificing entertainment value.

Washington's performance is adequate, though hardly stretching his abilities. Co-star Eva Mendez appears to be there because J-Lo was too expensive, but is, at least, easy on the eye, while Dean Cain seems to have decided that growing an evil goatee is enough.

All told, a case of move along, nothing to see here.

Reviewed on: 24 Dec 2003
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Small town Florida police chief finds himself the prime suspect in a double homicide.

Read more Out Of Time reviews:

Claire Sawers ***1/2
The Hoodler ***1/2

Director: Carl Franklin

Writer: David Collard

Starring: Denzel Washington, Eva Mendez, Sanaa Lathan, Dean Cain, John Billingsley, Robert Baker, Alex Carter, Antoni Corone

Year: 2003

Runtime: 114 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US

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