Out of Time (2003)

Though much of the film relies on lapses in logic and sequences that are just utterly hard to swallow, the performances are what sell this in the end. Mendes gives a pretty good performance as the ex-wife of Washington’s character who becomes a sort of antagonist, and makes things very difficult, while Sanaa Lathan and Dean Cain are very menacing. John Billingsley is tolerable as the obligatory comic relief, and Washington delivers a very good performance as Lee. Though much of the scenes rely on plot devices, Washington convinces us of the tension with his panicky performance.

In the end, “Out of Time” was a limp thriller in desperate need of Viagra, and even with the help of good actors, and inspired writing, it’s still not a contender for a great thriller. Much like Washington’s latest films, this could be a good one if perhaps the quality were elevated, but I gather Washington only seems to be settling for mediocre lately. From the beginning, “Out of Time” never gets off on the right foot with the audience. Everything here seems to artificial and the island scenery only works as a plot device instead of as a setting. The small town police organization gives the audience a chance not to ask questions. Small operations, a lot of loopholes, easy escape, so instantly the logic is diluted and the mystery feels artificial. What makes a good mystery is that even in a big city, the confines can feel claustrophobic.

“North by Northwest”, “Rope”, and “Murder on the Orient Express”. It’s fair to make those comparisons considering writer David Collard seeks so intently on mimicking Hitchcock, but never can quite get it right. Washington’s character is a sucker, He falls for the trick hook line and sinker, but writer Collard never makes it hard to decipher. Everything from the get go is made all too predictable, and that’s thanks to Franklin’s many times inept direction much is given away all too soon for us to figure things out for ourselves. It seemed as if Franklin was traveling at his own speed never letting the audience decipher the mystery on its own. Meanwhile, after the revelation in the first half of the film, “Out of Time” really does run on steam, with Washington’s character attempting to hide from his co-workers what’s just happened, and then the lapses in logic just continue.

He fights with one of the culprits, and he falls off a balcony to his death which everyone in the hotel witnesses. Everyone seems to have seen him, but no one ever describes him to the police. Washington’s character is in so high demand yet when he’s attempting to cover up his crime, he surprisingly has a lot of free time. Especially with the case that’s broken out on this small town. Franklin’s thriller inevitably goes on way too long with a very bland climax that not only makes no sense, but ends on a safe note for the core stars. “Out of Time” is never as clever as it wants to be, and it’s never as good as it could be. In spite of decent performances from the main cast, Carl Franklin’s thriller is listless and very weak. With a predictable story, bad editing, and a story that is both illogical and filled with plot holes, Washington continues to settle for mediocre and average.