Time Out of Mind
Directed by Oren Moverman
Evicted from his squat and suddenly alone on the streets, George is a man without a home. Struggling with his demons and desperately trying to connect with the daughter he abandoned, he navigates the system, hustling for change and somewhere safe and quiet to gather his thoughts. But the streets are relentless and soon, George finds himself teetering on the edge, alone and abandoned.
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★★★★ review by Anna Imhof 🌸 on Letterboxd
This is that rare gem of a film that not many people get to see because the world is busy talking about other movies. I’m not saying this is a masterpiece, but it definitely is a special film. It does something different, so much so that this feels more like a composition than a film. Largely carried by the sounds of New York City, the eyes are sometimes lost trying to figure out where to look. In these moments it’s the sounds that are important. Other times it’s the spaces, and for brief moments, we’re up close and personal with the people who are attached to these sounds and spaces — or disconnected from them. The director seems wonderfully aware of space, so much so that I am tempted to call his style architectural. Sometimes he's choosing to push Richard Gere to the edge of the picture, sometimes he’s not even in the frame, but we know he’s there, and if we wait a while, he will reappear again.
There is a subtle symbolism in Time out of Mind, metaphors that never underestimate the audience. This is a film about a person who feels like they don’t exist, like they are invisible, and the way this is shot reflects this so well. No need for voice-overs to tell us how this character feels — it’s all in the picture, where it should be. How insignificant he is, or at least how insignificant he feels he is. There are also a lot of shots through windows, capturing the inside and the outside simultaneously, and while some might see this as a sort of gimmick after a while, it never got to that point for me. I just thought that this must have been directed by a person who really understands their job: To give the movie what it needs, instead of trying to figure out what the movie can do for them.
This is quiet, intimate, absorbing cinema, a story that isn't so much about homelessness as it is about identity. And also a painful reminder of how little people care about other people — even the homeless. Gere isn’t portrayed as a victim, he too blends out what wants to be heard, cuts off whoever reaches out. It took me a moment to get used to Richard Gere as a hobo, at first I didn’t find him too convincing, but then I realized that his character himself is in denial about being a bum. The more he got his head wrapped around this truth the more Gere disappeared inside his role. I have always felt that he might be a tiiiiiiiny bit underrated as an actor, and the thing I believe he does best — little moments of great intimacy — makes for some of the films strongest moments.
Really, the clouds are hanging low here and I was just looking for a movie that wouldn’t ask too much of me, and I wouldn’t ask too much of it in return. "Let me watch one of those annoying little indie dramas", I thought to myself. My arrogance was quickly rewarded, 'cause what I got instead was a highly immersive experience, something I could relate to and found great empathy for, something that reminded me of a thing or two that I’m on the verge of forgetting.
★★★★½ review by Dave on Letterboxd
Richard Gere. Man, he's aging well, isn't he? His soulful face is as expressive and emotional like never before. Gere is beautifully understated here as a homeless man trying to adjust to his new situation. How did he get here? What happens next?
TIME OUT OF MIND is Oren Moverman's third directorial effort, after the fantastic THE MESSENGER and RAMPART. He's three for three. Just watch how Moverman sets up his camera and plays with sound; we are rarely in the same room as Gere. Moverman keeps us at a distance because isn't that how we are with homeless people? We never want to get close to them, we're always looking the other way. Gere blends in with backdrop of New York City, and we're just casual observers.
TIME OUT OF MIND is slow- moving, for sure. The scenes stay on for an extra beat longer than they should. Gere pauses between sentences. Because really, when you have no place to go, all sense of time ceases to exist.
I was deeply moved by this story. Gere is fantastic, no surprise, but Moverman's style is so refreshingly minimalistic. He knows exactly how to keep us at a distance but leaves us wanting more.
With this track record, I can't wait to see what Oren Moverman does next.
★★★★★ review by Rohan Morbey on Letterboxd
The best film of 2015 which no one saw...
★★★★½ review by Fabio on Letterboxd
Urban poetry, Richard Gere at his best.
★★★★ review by Andrew Grant on Letterboxd
Quite possibly the best portrait of what it means to be homeless I've ever seen. We see Gere mostly through windows and doors, the safe distance from which we often view the homeless. Powerful stuff, and the film's sound design, which wonderfully layers the urban soundtracks of NYC is damn impressive.
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