Movie Review - Time Out of Mind

Richard Gere stars as George Hammond, a homeless man in New York City who is squatting in an abandoned apartment at the start. The actual tenant was evicted and just left George there. When the landlord or manager arrives to clean out the apartment, he kicks George out on the street. The film follows the days and nights of George having to sleep on the street and survive somehow in the cold.

Writer-director Oren Moverman (The Messenger and Rampart) decides to depict this film almost as if he were a nature filmmaker documenting animals in the wild. Moverman keeps a distance, often a great distance, and often he films Gere through barriers. He observes and watches through doorways and windows, through panes of glass mostly. Having this distance allows Gere to immerse or be immersed in his surroundings, as to allow the audience also to be immersed. This is compounded with Moverman's use of long, continuous takes.

One particular, long, continuous take involves an extensive monologue by Ben Vereen (Roots) who plays a homeless, jazz man named Dixon. He's a constant talker and Moverman's slow and uninterrupted push into Dixon helps to boost not only Vereen's performance but also Gere's.

Gere does a good job of putting us into the shoes of a homeless person. Because Gere is such a handsome fellow, it makes the idea of a homeless person more palatable. Yes, Gere's character George has a bit of a drinking problem, but it's made clear that he's not an addict or some bum who's unpleasant to be around, not if you don't have history with him, unlike his daughter, a barmaid, played by Jena Malone.

Moverman provides him some back story to explain George's descent, which is relate-worthy and could be applied to any one. Moverman also tries to show the bureaucracy and how frustrating it can be for a homeless person, but Gere's character is perhaps not the best representative of the frustration, and not just because of how handsome he is.

Four Stars out of Five.
Not Rated but contains sexual situations and language.
Running Time: 2 hrs. and 1 min.


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