OPENS DECEMBER 26, CERT 12A, 114 MINS
Matt Whitlock (Denzel Washington), respected police chief of a small Florida town, has one secret sin: his affair with Anne (Sanaa Lathan), wife of local bar-owner Chris (Dean Cain). But when Anne declares she has cancer a pile of police-impounded drug cash could pay to cure, Matt ‘borrows’ the money. By nightfall Chris’ bar is incinerated, he and Anne apparently inside, the money gone. Among the officers investigating the fire is Matt’s wife Alex (Eva Mendes), who he’s in the process of divorcing. It’s all he can do to keep one step ahead of her and avoid falling under suspicion.
After One False Move, Devil In A Blue Dress and High Crimes, director Carl Franklin here confirms his mastery of the crime movie, helped by a cast digging deep to find their characters’ fatal flaws. Watching Washington’s hubristic good man cornered in his own police station, a comfortable private kingdom now crawling with clues to his downfall, as twist after twist ties a noose round his neck, is painfully tense. Except for the formulaic climax, it’s a smart, suspenseful thriller.