Sometimes you have to wonder if certain actors ever sleep. Denzel Washington is one of those, seemingly in a new movie every week. That's certainly not a bad thing as he's one of the best currently in the industry. You just have to wish the guy wouldn't get burned out before his career is over. After his award-winning performance in "Training Day," he took on another great thriller with "Out of Time."
Matt Whitlock (Washington) is stuck in a bad situation. As the police chief of a small Florida town, he's having an affair while going through a pending divorce with his wife. He learns his new lover has cancer and is unable to afford treatment. After stealing money the police obtained from a drug raid to help her out, things quickly spiral out of control. The house his lover lived in is burned to ground and he was spotted on the property. His soon-to-be ex takes on the case that puts Matt squarely in the center.
Out of Time does a lot right. It takes time early on to build the characters, giving them a little depth to carry the movie on. Almost as if on cue, right at the half-hour mark, it becomes an all-out thriller, and a good one at that.
Washington's character is crafty and quick on his feet (maybe even a bit too much so at times) and the idea of putting his ex-wife on the other side gives the movie a basis for most of the tension. The writers build the case slowly until Matt finally can't keep up and has no choice to run. It's always solid and well put together. Plot holes are few in number. Even if you do figure it out (it's not that hard), watching Denzel work his way out of everything that comes up still makes it gripping.
The cast is overly sexy at times and it all seems a bit too obvious and unrealistic, but their performances are excellent. Washington is of course on top of his game (not that he's ever really off); Eva Mendes is believable as both an investigator and an ex-wife, while Sanaa Lathan makes a nice turn in the end. Dean Cain's performance occasionally seems forced, though his role is fairly small.
This isn't a movie that changes the way the thrillers are made. It has a unique premise and runs with it, providing enough thrills to cover the running time. It doesn't try to do anything different to make itself stand out as far as the script is concerned, but when everything combined comes together (photography, performances, direction), it ends up being a great ride well worthy of your entertainment dollar. (**** out of *****)