Out of Time: Generic Writing, Vigorous Acting

By Matthew Pizana · January 20, 2015

Love is blind or at least love is great at making us blind to all kinds of red flags that we should take notice of, but never do. In Out of Time, Matt Whitlock has collected a ton of red flags to take notice of, but is still living in the haze of his first marriage that’s recently gone south. His fling with an old high school classmate is on the verge of putting Matt in the worst of places, but he has to be blindsided first before he takes notice. Matt quickly starts to learn that people change and trust is something that can never be taken for granted even as he fights to stay out of jail for a crime he never realized he was a part of. 

Matt Whitlock (Denzel Washington) is the chief of police in a small coastal Florida town. He has recently made the newspapers for a drug bust that netted drugs and a large sum of cash. He is also recently separated from his wife, a homicide detective named Alex Whitlock (Eva Mendes). Since their separation, Matt has been seeing a local woman named Anne (Sanaa Lathan) who is married herself but is in an abusive relationship with her husband which she is ready to set herself free from.  During a visit with her doctor that Matt accompanies her to, Anne learns that cancer has given her very little time to live however; there are some services that might give her a chance to survive a little longer, for a fee. Blindsided by the news, but deeply in love with Anne, Matt decides to use the drug bust money to help pay for Anne’s treatments. He expects the appeals process to take years so it will be no problem to pay back thanks to the life insurance policy Anne has put into his name. Before Anne can make it out of town, there is a fire at her house and two dead bodies turn up. Matt immediately realizes how guilty he looks and it only gets worse when his ex-wife is assigned to the case. With each new piece of information, Matt tries to stay ahead of the investigation to ensure he isn’t wrongly accused before he can find out for himself the truth of what really is going on. 

Matt spends most of his time after the fire secretly working to try and prove he isn’t the man everyone is looking for. Yet, every time he saves himself from one problem, another one pops up. He can forge a home phone list of calls, but he doesn’t know about the cell phone records until it’s too late to do anything about it. The neighbor’s mother who saw Matt outside the house before the incident turns out to be a blind old lady that thinks one black man looks like all black men, but he would not have the same luck with the hotel desk clerk that he punched out when the man came to the station to identify him.   


Denzel Washington stars as the small town police chief that is a little too comfortable in his life to see a con coming. Denzel wears baffled on his face with an ease and comfort that few other actors could find in a lifetime. Eva Mendes plays the homicide detective that still has feelings for her ex, but every time she softens her stance, he does something to remind her why they separated in the first place. John Billingsley does a fantastic job as the town’s corner and Denzel’s characters right hand man helping him get out of the mess he is in. Nearly every scene he shows up in ends in laughter. 

This is the second project the director Carl Franklin and Denzel Washington have worked together on, the first being Devil in a Blue Dress which they shot together eight years prior.  

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