It’s like one of those Florida noir books written by, oh, Carl Hiassen or someone, all rain and lightning and oppressive humidity and double-
Corker? Heh. I sound like somebody’s grandmother, but there’s something kinda wonderfully old-
Denzel Washington (Antwone Fisher, John Q) is the police chief of Banyan Key, outside Miami, and he’s getting it on with sweet, sultry Sanaa Lathan (Brown Sugar, Catfish in Black Bean Sauce) while her husband, Dean Cain (Christmas Rush) isn’t looking. Hubby beats her, of course, which riles up the chivalrous gentleman in Washington. Bad things are gonna happen to someone, and when they do, in will swing Washington’s soon-
To say much more than that would be to spoil all the fun that comes in watching the many surprises unfold — and that Out of Time does surprise is the most delightful thing about it, if you’re like me and always figure out who did what to whom and why from, like, the trailer. Surprising, too, is how much humor is mixed in with the suspense, and not just the giggles that come from relief, either, like when Washington — who’d be the primary suspect in all the bad things that happen if only he wasn’t using his position as chief of police to alter or quash entirely all those pieces of damning evidence against him — escapes from one brush with being found after another. No, there’s also John Billingsley (White Oleander) as the M.E. of Banyan Key, Washington’s pal and so effortlessly funny in what could have been a throwaway part that he almost brings the thankless role of the “humorous best friend” to a whole new level… and Billingsley, clever guy, slips in an undercurrent of hostility to the character, too, one that makes you keep him on your radar as a possible bad guy. It’s the fine cast as well as the fine writing (the script is by David Collard) that make mountains of suspense out of what might have been molehills of diversions and ploys.
Now, it may well be that if I were to sit down and really pick apart the plot, it would fall to pieces, not that I can think of any dead or loose ends even now, after the excitement of a genuinely diverting movie has passed. But it doesn’t matter. The true test of a film like Out of Time is: Is it so thrilling and precarious and involving while you’re watching that you forget to pick it apart? And Out of Time passes with an A+.