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I may be out of time, but at least I'm not out of beer...

I may be out of time, but at least I'm not out of beer...

PG-13

Denzel Washington, Eva Mendes

Matthias: Hey Chris, try the crab.  It’s real good.
Chris: Oh, I’m allergic.
Matthias: I know…

The police chief, Matthias Whitlock (Washington), in a small Florida community finds out that the married woman he has been having an affair with is dying of cancer.  As a last resort to help her pay for treatment, he steals some money that he was holding as evidence from a big drug bust.  When the woman and her husband are killed in a house fire – which is determined to be arson -, Matthias is afraid that evidence will seem to implicate him in their deaths.  He sets out to find out who set him up while simultaneously throwing his fellow police officers off his trail.

As a big fan of Alfred Hitchcock movies, it always delights me to find more recent films that capture the feel that was found in the films of “The Master of Suspense”.  Out of Time does a fairly good job of providing that kind of suspense, even incorporating some of the themes that Hitchcock liked to use, like flawed lead characters and people being suspected of crimes they’re innocent of.

It’s fairly easy early on to figure out what’s going on and who is setting up Whitlock, but the real suspense and tension is built by his attempts to slow down the investigation long enough for him to solve it himself.  Some of it is a little over-dramatized, but Denzel Washington has the right amount of intelligence and confidence to make it work.  Eva Mendes also does a good job bringing credibility to a role that often gets underwritten in movies like this.  She plays Whitlock’s estranged wife, and she’s also a homicide detective who is trying to solve the arson case.  Mendes comes off as likable and intelligent, but still with a toughness needed in a male dominated line of work.

Unfortunately, the resolution to the story is not as enjoyable as the journey getting to it, which is often the case in movies these days.  There’s a fist fight, a shoot out, people acting irrationally, and then it’s all wrapped up with a bow on top, much too perfectly.

Still, it’s good to see clever writing in a modern suspense film.  Even if I knew where the movie was going, it surprised me with how it got there, and it made it an enjoyable ride along the way.

Filmmakers should not have put “can you hear me now” cell phone jokes in their movies because they’re already sounding dated – and lame – just a few years later.

10 – 1.5 for predictability – .7 for some distracting/poor editing – .5 for annoying music at times – .3 for the annoying comedy relief character = 7.0