Directed by Carl Franklin, starring Denzel Washington, Eva Mendes, Sanaa Lathan, Dean Cain, John Billingsley, Alex Carter, Robert Baker, Neil Brown Jr, Anotoni Cornacchione, Deborah Smith Ford, Tom Hillman, Veryl Jones and Al Quinn.

Denzel Washington is one of those actors that you either love or hate, but either way your opinion of him shouldn't affect your viewing of his latest suspense movie much. With his thunder stolen by the sidekick and the love interests, Washington blends into the background in a more subtle way than is characteristic.

Life couldn't be more comfortable for Matt Lee Whitlock (Washington). The Chief of Police in a small town, Whitlock strolls along the harbour in Banyan Key by day and drinks on the job by night. But the mundane nature of his life is about to be turned upside down when Banyan Key becomes the scene of a double murder. Wading through a complex web of deceit is challenge enough in itself, but finding out that his ex-wife Alex (Mendes) is the assigned detective on the case is too much for Whitlock.

Hiding a secret involvement with the victims of the homicide, Whitlock tries to outsmart both his ex-wife and his own police force in order to cover his own tracks. But the more he researches the case the more horrifying the truth becomes, as all the clues point towards himself as the prime suspect, clues which will surely be found by the police team if not discarded quickly. Engaging in a race against time, Whitlock enlists the help of the local medical officer Chae (Billingsley), who may be the only person he can trust to believe his unconvincing version of events.

The plot of this one isn't up to much, allowing you to follow in the footsteps of Whitlock and be two steps ahead of the action all the times. There are few dramatic twists on offer, with the love triangles, police corruption and motives all fairly 'guessable' throughout. It would be an injustice though to say that 'Out of Time' offers nothing to the viewer. The script remains solid in dialogue and humour even if lacking in plot originality.

While it is difficult to find fault with Denzel Washington, he doesn't shine brightest in this, with the female leads Eva Mendes (his ex-wife) and Sanaa Lathan (his lover) stealing his limelight. Beyond this female dominance, John Billingsley must be noted for his portrayal of Chae, Whitlock's trusty (if a little rough round the edges) sidekick. Billingsley adds a fresh humour to the film that saves predictability from being your lasting memory of 'Out of Time'.

Linda McGee