OUT OF TIME (2003) 3 stars
Director: Carl Franklin
Starring: Denzel Washington, Eva Mendes, Sanaa Lathan
Matt Whitlock (Washington) is the chief of police of a small Florida town who's having an affair with Ann Harrison, a woman stuck in an abusive marriage to an ex-football-star-turned-security guard. When Ann is diagnosed with terminal cancer, Matt steals money collected from a drug bust and gives it to her to pay for some expensive medical treatment. Before she can leave, Ann and her husband are killed in their home by a fire investigators learn was deliberately set. A homicide detective is called in, which turns out to be Matt's estranged wife, Alex (Mendes). As the pair begins to unravel the mysterious crime, Matt discovers that all of the clues are pointing to him as the main suspect, and to make matters worse, the DEA is en route to collect the drug money that Matt no longer has. Taking its cues from the underrated 1987 thriller No Way Out, Out of Time uses similar tricks and twists in its tale of a man trying to find the truth before everyone discovers the evidence against him. As such, anyone familiar with that Kevin Costner flick will be a few steps ahead of Time's script, but Washington makes the ride an entertaining one nonetheless. His performance is typically charismatic and assured, and although Mendes as a hard-boiled cop pushes the borders of credibility to their breaking point, she's awfully easy on the eyes. Director Franklin has yet to equal his edgy, tension-soaked 1992 crime drama One False Move; now that he's working in big-budget Hollywood films, one has to wonder if he ever will. But as it stands, he has proven himself to be a very good storyteller, even if, as in this case, we've already seen that story before.