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Film / Out of Time

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Out Of Time is a 2003 Neo-noir thriller that stars Denzel Washington, Sanaa Lathan, Eva Mendes, Dean Cain and John Billingsley.

Matthias "Matt" Whitlock (Washington) is a respected and competent Chief of Police in the Florida Keys town of Banyan Keys. Working alongside his soon-to-be ex-wife, Alex (Mendes), he then gets back in touch and begins seeing his high school sweetheart Ann Merai-Harrison (Lathan), who is in an unhappy marriage to her abusive husband, Chris. After being reacquainted with one another, Matt is horrified to learn that Ann has terminal cancer and in learning this, she bequeaths her life insurance policy of $450,000 on him by naming him the sole benefactor. While trying to help her get her affairs in order before her death, Matt is then shocked to discover that she and her husband have been killed in a house fire and even more shocked to realize that not only was it a double homicide, but that the evidence is gradually pointing to him as the suspect.

Not to be confused with the 1991 R.E.M. album Out of Time.

The film features the following tropes:

  • Agitated Item Stomping: While on the phone with the FBI agents, Matt stomps on the phone in annoyance with them, even giving a Shout-Out to the Verizon ads of "Can you hear me now?"
  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: As the not-dead Ann has Matt burned after shooting him twice and ready to kill him as he begs for his life, a gunshot then soon goes off, which is delivered by Alex and kills her instead.
  • Briefcase Full of Money: What Matt successfully retrieved from the suspects. Alex soon grows suspicious of it and him towards the end of the film and upon having to open it, she discovers that it was his basic work-related items including a scanner and some lunch. The money was instead handed to Chae for safekeeping and so that neither Ann nor Chris wouldn't run off with it.
  • Butt-Monkey: Chae, the medical examiner, especially in the climax. When attempting to deliver Matt the money, his jalopy promptly breaks down while waiting for a large truck to pass at an intersection. Then when trying to fix what was wrong with the car, it starts pouring rain. He even looks up towards the heavens and cries out "Come on!"
  • Clear My Name: Matt and Chae spend the majority of the film trying to prove the former's innocence of the crimes.
  • Death by Falling Over: Combined with Railing Kill: Paul Cabot dies from falling several stories off of a hotel balcony. His body is also found clutching part of the remnants of said balcony.
  • Domestic Abuse: Chris towards Ann throughout the film. Or so we think...
  • Evil All Along: Ann.
  • Faking the Dead: Ann and Chris faked their deaths for the insurance money, set it up so that Matt would take the fall for the crimes and she would eventually kill her husband to claim all of the money herself.
  • Greed: The root of the film's plot. Ann even screams at Matt as she cornered him that she was sick of being broke.
  • Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist: In spite of being law enforcement, Matt, Chae and others are usually seen in these, which given the hot, summer weather down in Florida, may be justified.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Matt and Chae. It may also count as an Odd Friendship between the methodical, serious police chief and the quirky, snarky medical examiner.
  • Hired to Hunt Yourself: A variation; Matt, the police chief, had nothing to do with the double murders, but there was lots of incriminating evidence since he was having a secret affair with one of the victims. As a result, he had to find ways to hide the evidence against him from the other cops long enough to figure out what really happened.
  • Jerkass: The FBI agents in general, due to the Jurisdiction Friction and having a dismissive opinion of Matt and his small-town police department.
  • Killing in Self-Defense: How Matt killed conman Paul Cabot, who ambushed him in a hotel room and tried to push him off of a high story balcony.
  • Maybe Ever After: The ending implies that Matt and Alex will reunite, with the two of them (and Chae) relaxing and she referring herself as his wife.
  • Product Displacement:
    • There is a Coca-Cola soda machine in the police lobby, but since a picture of a marlin jumping out of water is painted over it, the actual logo is difficult to see.
    • At the end of the film, Matt is clearly drinking a Corona beer, but his hand obscures the label itself.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Many of Matt's methods to deflect suspicion off of him runs on this, such as during the scene where the police and FBI are chasing after him, he's able to flash his police badge and order some of the men pursuing him to chase down the "suspect". Justified as he is the Chief of police and therefore very intelligent/clever.
  • Sherlock Scan: Alex, who discovers a small piece of glass in Matt's hair while having a heart-to-heart with him. This leads to her to consider him the true culprit in the homicides.
  • Shout-Out: During the fight scene in the hotel room, we can hear Legally Blonde playing on the television in the background.
  • Talk to the Fist: Of rather briefcase: Matt clocks a desk clerk at a hotel who tried to turn him in after Cabot's death.
  • Working with the Ex: Matt and his recently divorced wife, Alex.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Both Chris and Matt end up on the receiving end of this trope via Ann. She kills the former in order not to share the money and attempts to kill the latter so to not face charges on any of her crimes.