One more time

Out of Time

Rated 3.0 Denzel Washington is Matt Lee Whitlock, the chief of police for a sleepy town in the Florida Keys. So sleepy, in fact, those employed by the police department find the means to drink beer on the job. The first time Whitlock puts down his beer, it is only to embrace Anne Merai (Sanaa Lathan), a married woman with whom he is having an affair. Anne Merai suffers in an abusive marriage to failed professional football player Chris Harrison, played by Dean Cain (setting the bar incredibly high for the consummate jock-asshole stereotype).

Whitlock eventually learns of Anne’s diagnosis with terminal cancer. With no means of financing treatment, Washington’s character borrows money from a recent drug bust to fund a possible cure. When an explosion devastates the Harrison house, Chief Whitlock is stunned to find its occupants sizzling in the ash and debris, the money missing, all clues pointing to him as the perpetrator, and his ex-wife (Eva Mendes) leading the homicide investigation. What follows is highly reminiscent of Hitchcock’s “innocent man in extraordinary circumstances” plot mechanics.

Director Carl Franklin (One False Move) delivers a decent yet unmemorable film to commit to the ever-expanding sub-genre of “Florida noir” (Wild Things, Miami Blues, to name a couple). All of the cinematic regulations are checked: humidity, rain, Latin-jazz-inflected soundtrack, perspiration, ambiguous personalities and of course the ominous rumble of thunder symbolically hinting at inescapable doom and defeat for all involved.

What Franklin has to lift this film above the mundane is Washington’s gift in portraying the "everyman" who is essential to this particular brand of cinematic storytelling.