Out of Time
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie includes some steamy sexual situations that are right up at the limit of the PG-13 rating. Characters use some strong language. Characters drink and smoke, one to excess. Violence includes gunplay, death from a fall, and a brief shot of charred dead bodies. Inter-racial relationships and marriages are refreshingly portrayed as commonplace, one of the movie's strengths.
What's the story?
With its very tangled web of betrayal, greed, and murder, OUT OF TIME recalls those classic old-fashioned noir films. Everything about Chief of Police Matthias Whitlock (Denzel Washington), from the crisply pressed white shirt and dark shorts of his uniform to the way he walks down the street checking to see whether all the doors are locked, tells us that he is extremely careful, meticulously honest, and highly professional. But then he answers a call from Ann Harrison (Sanaa Lathan) about a prowler, and things are different when it comes to her. They are having an affair that no one else knows about, especially Ann's abusive husband (Dean Cain) and Matt's estranged wife Alex (Eva Mendes). Matt tells Ann a small lie about Alex. And then, when Ann is diagnosed with cancer and needs an experimental treatment, borrowing that money from the evidence safe begins to seem like a possibility. The sharp uniform and close shave are gone. Matt wears a loose Hawaiian shirt and looks increasingly unraveled.
Is it any good?
Like Body Heat, Out of Time is a throwback to the noir classics, in which an ordinary man is drawn into disaster. Matt (and the audience) may think at first that he has done the wrong thing for the right reasons, but then things spiral out of control and into disaster. The plot holes are outweighed by the specifics of the story and the people who tell it. The movie makes nice sly use of the cliche that white people think that all black people look alike. Having Alex as the homicide detective assigned to the case is a fine twist, and affects her in personal and professional ways.
Most important, there is Washington himself, one of the all-time most mesmerizing and appealing screen stars. This role takes full advantage of all of Washington's greatest strengths, especially his ability to get and keep us on his side and his brilliance in conveying a secretive character. Lathan and Mendes are both exceptionally fine, and Cain is nicely creepy and menacing. The real find here, though, is John Billingsly as Matt's colleague Shay, whose gives his line readings a deliciously offbeat spin, making him far more than the standard wisecracking sidekick.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about where Matt's turning point was and whether he would have been more likely to tell the truth if not for his complicated relationship with Alex.