Chief of Police Matt Lee Whitlock (Washington) monitors the comings and goings of Banyan Key, an intimate beach community located several miles south of Miami. His private life is plagued by failed relationships and love triangles. A pending separation from his wife Alex (Eva Mendes) doesn't stop Whitlock from sleeping with Anne (Sanaa Lathan), a married townie with an abusive husband (Dean Cain).
Whitlock's bedroom shenanigans provide the ingredients for Franklin's twisty stew. Cinematographer Theo van de Sande bathes the sets in Florida's naturally sweltering heat, while screenwriter David Collard spices up the already steamy material with a life-threatening illness, a hefty insurance policy, and over $400,000 in confiscated drug money. After a lengthy (with a capital "L") set-up, the rollercoaster ride kicks into gear.
The disappearance of two major characters places Whitlock in a delicate position with legal ramifications. Details must be omitted here if there's any hope of you enjoying this film. All you need to know is that Time can be funny when it needs to be, sexy when we want it to be, and suspenseful when we least expect it. Collard's script ties a noose around Whitlock's neck, and the knot gets tighter with each scene. In this aspect, Time resembles a paperback page-turner, the ones we read on vacation that have a twist at the end of each chapter.
But like those guilty pleasures, Time relies heavily on conveniences. Puzzle pieces fall into place when beneficial to Whitlock, and no one else. Outsiders who could confirm or deny Whitlock's association with the missing characters are either "out to lunch" or "gone for the day" when police look to question them. Rules don't bend for Whitlock, they twist into pretzels as the refreshing ocean breezes of Banyan Key carry logic out the window. One scene around a fax machine is particularly preposterous. It's all done in an effort to buy Whitlock more time so he can conduct his own investigation. Some of it is clever; most of it is contrived.
Whitlock turns out to be a meaty role for Washington, and he plays it off the cuff. Not quite a hero, he skirts around the obligations of his badge on a daily basis, and lies and cheats to the women in his life. Yet we root for him to succeed, which speaks more to Denzel's drawing power than to the strength of the script.
And in need of a nap.
Run time: 105 mins
In Theaters: Friday 3rd October 2003
Box Office Worldwide: $55.5M
Production compaines: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5
IMDB: 6.5 / 10
Director: Carl Franklin
Screenwriter: David Collard
Starring: Denzel Washington as Matthias " Lee " Whitlock, Eva Mendes as Alex Diaz Whitlock, Sanaa Lathan as Ann Merai Harrison, John Billingsley as Chae, Dean Cain as Chris Harrison, Alex Carter as Cabot, Antoni Corone as Deput Basle, Robert Baker as Tony Dalton, Ron Madoff as Detective (as Ronald J. Madoff)