Preview by: Jack Foley
HAVING won an Oscar for Training
Day, and then receiving plenty of critical acclaim for his
directorial debut, Antwone Fisher,
Denzel Washington can now command a huge salary, it seems.
His latest is notable for helping him to earn $20 million up
front , a career high, thereby confirming his place in the upper
eschelons of A-list stars. And what's more, the deal was signed
before he won the Golden statuette for Training Day.
Out of Time finds Washington as the police chief of a small Florida
town, who, against his better judgement, 'borrows' money from
the evidence room, so that he can pay for an expensive medical
procedure for the woman (Sanaa Lathan) he's always been in love
But his dream of a life with her is ruined when she dies in an
arson-related incident, and all of the evidence points to him
being the culprit.
With his reputation on the line, Washington must solve the case
before he runs... out of time.
The film co-stars Eva Mendes, as a police detective co-worker,
who he is also having an affair with, and former TV Superman,
Dean Cain, as the husband of Lathan's character, who is also a
former high school football quarterback.
According to MGM production president, Alex Gartner, 'the tone
of this film is lighter than Denzel's last two films, but it is
smart, fun and has tent-pole potential'.
And in case you were wondering, a 'tentpole' is the term given
to a film that a studio thinks will be so successful, they can
schedule an entire season around one or two of them.
And given Washington's current Box Office popularity - John
Q, for example, set a President's Day weekend opening record
with more than $23 million, despite lame reviews - the studio
has every reason to anticipate another Washington home run.
Another factor in its favour is the fact that Out of Time reunites
Washington with director, Carl Franklin, who helmed the star in
the critically-acclaimed Devil In A Blue Dress.
The director has been keen to work with Washington again for
some time and the complex, but fun, thriller seemed like the perfect
Ironically, the role wasn't written with Washington in mind;
it wasn't even intended for a black actor.
Hugh Jackman had been touted to star in it, but could not take
on the role because of his X-Men 2
Audiences will have to see whether Jackman's loss is Washington's
gain when the film opens in America on October 3.
As usual, IndieLondon will keep an eye on the critical verdict.
Word from America on Denzel's latest has been surprisingly good,
with several US scribes confessing to being pleasantly surprised
by this smart little potboiler.
Leading the way is the Los Angeles Times, which wrote
that 'despite the standard-issue ingredients - the palm trees,
the femme fatale, the dirty money - there's something about the
movie that sets it apart from the usual thriller'.
The Chicago Sun-Times stated that 'Washington is one of
the most likable of actors, which is essential to this character,
preventing us from concluding that he's getting what he deserves'.
It added that 'suspension of disbelief, always necessary in a
thriller, is required here in wholesale quantities. But in a movie
like Out of Time I'm not looking for realism, I'm looking for
a sense of style brought to genre material'.
Similarly glowing was Entertainment Weekly, which awarded
it a B+, and summed it up as 'entertainingly deft', while the
Hollywood Reporter felt that 'working from a tight script
by first-time screenwriter Dave Collard, Franklin moves the story
at a brisk pace as his often-in-motion camera captures the sultry
sensuality of a backwater coastal town'.
Strong, too, was the word from the Detroit Free Press,
which observed that 'even folks who figure out the twist early
on may find themselves clutching the armrests as Out of Time begins
to run out of time'.
And Variety felt that it was 'tasty if wildly far-fetched'.
The Detroit News, meanwhile, stated that it is 'soggy
at the beginning, silly at the end, but often riveting in between,
Out of Time is another Denzel Washington movie that's nowhere
near as good as Denzel Washington'.
And the New York Post remarked that it is an 'incredible
but fun noir'.
The Philadelphia Daily News opined that 'can you see the
ending coming a mile way? Sure you can. But in this case, getting
there is way more than half the fun'.
And Rolling Stone remarked that 'it's a kick to watch
Denzel Washington do a movie just for the hot, sexy fun of it'.
Another positive notice came from Newsday, which concluded
that it is a 'gripping crime thriller that reunites Devil in a
Blue Dress star Denzel Washington with director Carl Franklin
and, in many ways, reinvents the genre'.
But the best word, however, seems reserved for The Philadelphia
Inquirer, which concluded that Out of Time is 'the most purely
entertaining thriller since No Way Out'.