Out of Time
October 3, 2003
This project has a lot of potential, starting with the casting of the sexy and talented Denzel Washington in the lead role. Admittedly, in the last couple of years, Denzel has spent most of his time in shameless Oscar-baiting roles (sensitive mentor to young African American soldier--check; father of critically ill child--check; gay dyslexic amputee.....) in movies of mostly dubious quality. Call it the Kevin Spacey Strategy if you will. However, he's not completely averse to taking the bread and butter paycheck roles if the money is right, a strategy that has had mixed results of late. See, e.g., the underrated supernatural thriller Fallen or the highly mediocre Angelina Jolie serial killer flick, The Bone Collector. In this case, the money appears to have been *really* right, as his salary on Out of Time reportedly landed Denzel in the coveted $20 million dollar club.
Also on the plus side, this movie is directed by Carl Franklin, whose previous projects include the excellent crime drama One False Move and the even better neo-noir Devil in a Blue Dress, also starring Denzel. Lastly, we're also encouraged to hear that Sanaa Lathan, previously of Love and Basketball and Brown Sugar, is playing one of the main female leads. In fact, we're so happy that someone is giving the lovely Ms. Lathan work, we're willing to overlook the casting of Dean "TV's Superman" Cain in a key supporting role as Lathan's fomer high school football star husband. (For any of you who think that Josh Hartnett was crazy because he was worried about being typecast if agreed to a guaranteed three Superman movies, try to see how many times you can find Dean Cain's name mentioned in the press *without* a mention of the word Superman) The appealing Eva Mendes from the completely unappealing 2 Fast 2 Furious rounds out the cast.
The plot has Denzel playing Matt Lee Whitlock, a police chief in a small Florida town who gets involved in a dodgy situation with Lathan's character, Ann, a woman he's been in love with since their high school days. Denzel appropriates a large stash of money from the police evidence room to help Ann pay for an expensive medical procedure that he believes is necessary to save her life. However, as these things often go when sexy femme fatales are involved, Ann and the cash disappear under very mysterious circumstances that seem to point to a double cross and one or more faked deaths. Mendes's character, who conviently is also sexually invovled with Denzel, heads up the arson and double homicide investigation, with the trail of evidence increasingly pointing to Denzel as the lead suspect.
So basically, this sounds a bit like a cross between Body Heat and Presumed Innocent, or maybe even Wild Things without Denise Richards and hot lesbian action. (What would Wild Things be without Denise Richards and hot lesbian action? Exaaaactly.) It's hard to know what to make of Out of Time's box office prospects. The commercially friendly subject matter, the budget allocated for Denzel's paycheck and the originally scheduled June 2003 release date all suggest that the studio intended this to be a big summer moneymaker. The move to October suggests that either MGM is concerned about the quality of their product or they think that Denzel needs a little breathing room from summer competition to open a movie on his own. Or possibly MGM is just continuing in its long tradition of managing to botch up the release and marketing strategies on their projects. (Calvin Trager/BOP)
Comparison films for Out of Time
|Bone Collector, The
|Wild Things (1998)
|Devil in a Blue Dress