Time Out of Mind may just be the most compelling film I’ve watched in a long time. Written and directed by Oren Moverman, and starring Richard Gere, it follows George (Gere) through his struggles as a homeless person in New York City. From finding a place to spend the night, to his ongoing attempts to reconcile with his daughter, no detail is spared in this gritty drama.
On the face of it, this shouldn’t be the most enthralling film. Following a homeless man round on his day to day life is probably not the most captivating film summary of the year, yet at no point did I feel bored or distracted. The main reason for this is Moverman’s method of shooting and the cinematography he utilises throughout. We spend the entire movie following George, but always from a safe distance. We watch him drink beer from across the street, try and salvage his belongings off the floor from inside a coffee shop, and try to sleep from inside parked cars. We are present, but detached. We follow him on his struggle, but we are not part of his struggle. We are – for all intents and purposes – the people of New York, and he is just another faceless homeless person, one who people would rather either ignore, or even avoid.
Gere, as he so often does, plays his role to perfection. From denial, to desperation, to acceptance, he exhibits a kaleidoscope of emotions, and does so with minimal dialogue and interaction with others. This isn’t to say that this is a one man show, there are strong performances from the other cast (Ben Vereen in particular), but as with seemingly most things in George’s life, people come and go the same way he does. Because of this, the relationships between characters are not what drive this movie forward. Instead, the driving force here is how it shows the indignities of George’s life in such a matter-of-fact way and blunt way. Most people – myself included – have a habit of turning a blind eye to this issue but ‘Time Out of Mind’ shoves it in your face and this makes you think about it more than any news report or statistic ever could.
Overall, this is less a traditional movie with identifiable structure, character development and dialogue, and is more a two hour critique of the way society reacts to its more unflattering aspects. It is unflinching in its portrayal, and is in turn utterly compelling. It is not a film for a ‘boys night’ or a ‘Netflix and chill’, but if you’re in the mood for a ‘view and ponder’ or a ‘thoughtful watch’ then look no further than this.
Dir: Oren Moverman
Scr: Oren Moverman
Cast: Richard Gere, Ben Vereen, Jena Malone
Prd: Mohammed Al Turkey, Miranda Bailey
Music: Sarah Bromberg
Run time: 121 minutes
Time Out of Mind is available to stream on We Are Colony
Check out Richard Gere discussing the film in this exclusive behind-the-scenes clip.