Denzel Washington, Eva Mendes, Sanaa Lathan, Dean Cain, John Billingsley, Robert Baker, Alex Carter
How do you solve a murder when all the evidence points to you?
When a small-town Florida woman and her drug-running husband are murdered, the chief of police has to stay two steps ahead of his own detective ... because all the clues lead to him!
$16.185 million on 3076 screens.
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby 2.0
French Dolby 2.0
Runtime: 105 min.
Release Date: 1/6/2004
• Audio Commentary with Director Carl Franklin
• “Out of Time: Crime Scene” Featurette
• Character Profiles
• Screen Tests
• Photo Gallery
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.
Out Of Time: Special Edition (2003)
Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 30, 2003)
So far, Denzel Washington has yet to capitalize on the heightened level of success he earned with his Best Actor Oscar for 2001’s Training Day. I like Washington a lot, but I now worry he’ll continue to make bad choices like 2002’s atrocious and absurd John Q. 2003’s Out of Time definitely betters that clunker, but it remains in Washington’s “forgettable” file, as it provides an unexceptional thriller.
Set in tropical Banyan Key, Florida, soon-to-be-divorced Chief of Police Matt Whitlock (Denzel Washington) maintains an affair with
Ann Merai Harrison (Sanaa Lathan). She’s married to a violent jerk named Chris Harrison (Dean Cain), and we witness obvious dislike between Chris and Matt. Matt recently performed a drug bust that nabbed hundreds of thousands of dollars in dirty money.
According to Dr. Frieland (Alex Carter), Ann has an aggressive form of cancer that will probably kill her within half a year. Matt recommends that she pursue some pricey experimental treatments, but she can’t afford these. When she finds that Chris changed her life insurance policy from $100,000 to $1,000,000 without her knowledge, she initially pursues selling it to the “Living Gift Foundation”. They become the beneficiary of the policy and will give her a substantial amount of money, but this fails to materialize.
Eventually she makes Matt the beneficiary and plans to leave town. However, Matt steals the drug money and gives it to Ann so they can split together.
When a fire consumes their house, it appears that both Chris and Ann burn to death. This seems suspicious, so homicide detective Alex Diaz-Whitlock – Matt’s estranged wife – takes the lead in the investigation. She learns of Ann’s affair, so Matt works to take her off his tail. The plot thickens when Matt and Alex visit Ann’s long-time doctor and hear that she didn’t have cancer, contrary to what Dr. Frieland told her. When Matt goes to see the physician, he discovers the Frieland he met was an imposter.
This sets up two concerns for Matt. He needs to make sure Alex doesn’t learn of his involvement with Ann, and he also needs to learn about the intricacy related to the fake Frieland and the apparently inaccurate diagnosis. To make matters worse, an elderly neighbor of Ann’s tells the police she saw a prowler outside of the Harrison place, and she notes that he looked a lot like Matt. Folks pooh-pooh her statements because she clearly thinks all black men look alike, but this spooks Matt. In addition, the DEA need to get a hold of the now-missing drug money, so Matt scrambles to deal with that. The rest of the movie follows these various threads.
Out of Time offers a sporadically intriguing thriller. Much of the problem comes from the frequent lack of suspense. Put simply, Time telegraphs far too many of its plot twists. I won’t claim that I saw all of them coming, but it lets us know what will happen too easily. For example, one scene of exposition grinds the film to a halt to let us know about a GPS system used by the police. This glaringly tells us that the GPS device will eventually come into play, so when it occurs, it feels awfully obvious.
With so many obvious twists, the movie has to work overtime to find surprises, which makes them less effective. We never really trust the movie to play fair. It telegraphs lots of elements, so the less predictable bits almost feel like cheats. It ties together acceptably well but never becomes terribly coherent or well integrated.
Part of the problem stems from all the competing plot threads. These seem meant to communicate all the pressures on Matt, and they should make the film seem tenser. After all, with so many threats against our lead, we should really feel the heat.
Instead, they have the opposite effect. The pressures come so frequently that they seem almost comical. We don’t feel worried for Matt, as we know he’ll get out of these scrapes; after all, he’s the lead, and if he gets caught too soon, the movie ends. However, we also don’t really delight in how he escapes these jams, mostly because they turn silly after a while. These attempts at tension actually alleviate those feelings.
We get a typical solid performance from Washington at least. He doesn’t break a sweat, but he adds some class to an otherwise lackluster piece. Ultimately, Out of Time seems watchable and reasonably entertaining, but it offers nothing more than that. It gives us a competently crafted thriller that nonetheless fails to become anything noteworthy.
The DVD Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus B-
Out of Time appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. While not a reference-level transfer, Time consistently looked positive.
Sharpness seemed strong across the board. Throughout the film, the image remained crisp and detailed at almost all times. Only a couple of wide shots looked a little soft, and those seemed pretty minor. The picture lacked jagged edges or moiré effects, but some light edge enhancement popped up periodically. As for print flaws, some light grain popped up during a few interiors, but otherwise the image lacked any defects.
Due to the tropical setting, colors offered a strong aspect of Time. The film boasted a broad and varied palette, and the DVD replicated these tones nicely. The hues came across as bright and vivid with good clarity; I saw no concerns related to noise, bleeding, or other problems in the lush tones. Black levels also seemed deep and rich, while shadow detail appeared to be appropriately dense but not excessively thick. Overall, Out of Time offered a very good visual experience.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix of Out of Time seemed generally subdued. The soundfield remained mostly anchored in the front realm. The forward channels provided decent stereo imaging for music and effects, as sounds appeared in the appropriate locations and blended together efficiently. Not a lot of movement occurred across the speakers, but the mix seemed reasonably well integrated nonetheless. As for the surrounds, they offered light reinforcement of music and effects at most. Frankly, I usually wasn’t really aware that any audio came from the rears. I heard a car zoom from front to rear once, but otherwise the mix really did stick strongly with the front speakers.
Although the soundfield seemed bland, the quality of the audio helped compensate for most shortcomings. Dialogue appeared consistently natural and distinct; a little edginess popped up at times, but this remained pretty infrequent. Effects played a minor role in the film, but they sounded accurate and clean, with reasonable presence and no signs of distortion. Music worked fairly well, as the percussive score presented good clarity. Highs seemed crisp and bright, while bass was acceptably rich and warm. In the end, the audio was nothing special, but it suited the film relatively well.
This DVD release of Out of Time includes a small roster of supplements. We open with an audio commentary from director Carl Franklin. He provides a running, screen-specific discussion. A very erratic track, this one includes some good material but really drags at times.
Franklin gets into a few interesting topics. He discusses the movie’s themes and character issues plus elements of editing, pacing, casting and cinematography. He gives some details about locations, though he spends too much time on that subject and it starts to become tedious. He never just narrates the action, but he often lets substantial empty spots appear. Those become the commentary’s biggest problem, and they keep it from giving us a track that seems anything other than spotty.
Up next we get a featurette called Out of Time: Crime Scene. This 12-minute and 16-second provides the standard mix of movie snippets, behind the scenes images, and interviews. We get notes from director Franklin, producer Jesse B’Franklin, writer Dave Collard, and actors Denzel Washington, Eva Mendes, Dean Cain, and Sanaa Lathan. The show goes through a mix of production topics like the cast, the script, and the locations. The piece starts well and seems like it’ll offer a meaty examination of the production, but it soon becomes fairly fluffy and filled with praise. It provides a few decent details but it mostly just touts the project and its participants.
In the Profiles domain we get an interesting feature. This offers interpretations for five of the flick’s characters: Matt, Alex, Ann, Chris and Chae. The snippets run between 65 seconds and 83 seconds for a total of six minutes, 21 seconds of footage. Each of these provides a quick video program with movie clips and interviews from Franklin and Collard as they chat about character background and motives. These don’t tell us much we don’t already know from the movie, so they don’t add much.
Next we find two Outtakes. One lasts 27 seconds, while the other goes for 34 seconds. The first shows an intense exchange between the characters played by Cain and Lathan that ends with laughter, while the second provides a similar piece with Washington and Lathan. Neither seems too interesting.
We discover Screen Tests after this. The disc includes three tests for Sanaa Lathantwo minutes, 34 seconds, 1:26, and 2:06) and two for Dean Cain (51 seconds, 3:39). Both seem interesting and entertaining. (By the way, Lathan looks much hotter here with straight hair than she does with the curly look she features in the movie.)
Rounding out the disc, we find an Image Gallery that presents a running, filmed sequence of shots. It lasts two minutes, 41 seconds and shows a bland set of publicity and production shots. In addition to the trailer for Time, the “Other Great MGM Releases” features ads for Anti-Trust, Barbershop, Dark Blue, Die Another Day, and Barbershop 2.
A mediocre thriller, Out of Time suffers from too many predictable elements. It telegraphs many of its twists and fails to become anything more than average at best. The DVD presents very good picture with decent audio and some erratic but moderately interesting extras. Time might merit a rental for fans of the genre, but it doesn’t do anything much to stand out from the crowd.
Viewer Film Ratings: 3.75 Stars|| Number of Votes: 12|