review for Out of Time on AllMovie

Out of Time (2003)
by Michael Hastings review

Judging by its box-office receipts, the anonymously titled thriller Out of Time proved that audiences aren't quite ready to see Denzel Washington squirm for the better part of 100 minutes. It's a shame, really, because Carl Franklin's sultry, funny, deeply ironic crime yarn provides the venerable performer with one of his best roles, and gives him the opportunity to play against his cool, collected (and since Training Day, arrogantly menacing) persona. Dave Collard's script mines its twists and turns from the best film noirs of the '40s and grafts them onto a tart marital-reconciliation subplot. It's the kind of material Hitchcock would've relished interpreting, and Franklin proves up to the task, even if he occasionally loses grip on the film's light-but-menacing tone -- particularly in the straight-to-video riverboat climax -- in a way that Hitch would've never allowed. Eva Mendes and the redoubtable Sanaa Lathan make the most of their limited screen time, the former pulling off a strong, sympathetic performance comparable to the one that put Jennifer Lopez on the map five years prior in Out of Sight. It's Washington, however, who holds the film together, never currying easy audience sympathy as he doggedly, sneakily, and (at times) hilariously attempts to cover his tracks.