Movie Reviews: Out of Time
   
 



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Studio:
     Paramount (2hr. 3min.)
Plot:
      A drama about a small town police chief who is experiencing marital disharmony because of his extramarital affairs, and the unwise decisions he makes as a result of his playing around.
Cast:
     Denzel Washington, Sanaa Lathan, Eva Mendes, Dean Cain, John Billingsley, Antoni Corone, Alex Carter, Rob Baker, Tom Hillmann and Robert Baker II
Rating:
     PG-13
Bottom Line:
     

Coverage:
by
Sylvia L. Dawson

"Out of Time" is a movie about a small town police chief who is victim to "the grass is always greener on the other side" syndrome. Police Chief Matt Whitlock, played by Denzel Washington, is separated from his wife Alice (Eva Mendes), and is having a lurid affair with Anna, his sultry high school sweetheart (Sanaa Lathan).

The conflict begins immediately in the opening scene when Whitlock receives a call from Anna Harrison, who reports her home has been broken into. Whitlock, who is drinking on the job (he drinks beer throughout the movie, which is uncharacteristic of a Washington flick), responds to her call. What follows is a torrid love scene where Whitlock and Harrison reenact the crime, which took place in her bedroom, culminating with the two of them in bed together. It is obvious that they enjoy, and are accustomed to, role-playing acts of violence toward Harrison, which is a form of foreplay that ends in lovemaking.

All they key players are introduced in the next scene. The plot thickens as sparks fly between Chief Whitlock and his wife, Detective Alice Whitlock. Though separated, the two are obviously still in love with one another but can’t make it past their lack of communication and the chief’s extramarital affairs. Then we’re introduced to Anna’s (Lathan) husband, Chris, (Dean Cain), who is a has-been ex-football player who allegedly beats his wife. There is obvious conflict between the two men, although initially it isn’t apparent whether Chris is aware of his wife and Whitlock’s relationship. So the stage is set for a four-way love triangle wrought in passion and deception.

The story moves quickly from this point. Chief Whitlock is served his divorce papers, and out of the pain of a failed marriage makes a decision to take $485,000 in drug money out of the evidence room and gives it to Anna, who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. The two were planning to run off together, where she could receive alternative treatments in an attempt to prolong her life. It becomes quickly obvious that Whitlock has been duped, when Anna and her husband, who works at the town’s morgue, disappear and their house burns to the ground. Two charred bodies are found in the fire, so enter stage left the homicide department. And who is the lead detective on the case? You guessed it: Whitlock’s wife, Alice. Chief Whitlock hyperventilates as Anna and Chris’ lies unfold, and as he tries to cover his tracks and hide his involvement from his detective wife. Alice Whitlock cracks the case and rescues her man. Like a good, dutiful wife, she covers for him, the missing money is returned, and we all have a few laughs.

The only downfall of the film is its predictability. I knew within the first 15 minutes of the movie that Whitlock was being set up. The characterization is good, especially of Whitlock’s foil, Chae (John Billingsley), who proved to be a loyal friend and comedic. The shallow part of the film was the chief’s actions—how could someone in his position be so foolish as to jeopardize his career and future by stealing money from the town he is supposed to serve and protect, and giving it to someone he doesn’t love? His actions were not plausible. Nor was his wife’s response at the end, who after a trail of her husband’s lies and deception, asks "Did you love her?" "No," he answers. And then they kiss, share a beer, and make love.

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