Magazine article Screen International

Time out of Mind

Magazine article Screen International

Time out of Mind

Article excerpt

Dir/scr: Oren Moverman. US. 2014. 117mins

In Time Out Of Mind, Richard Gere plays a homeless man. The actor who embodied cockiness in American Gigolo and An Officer And A Gentleman is now in the role of a casualty discarded by his society. Gere, now in his mid-60s, joins the ranks of American leading men - Bruce Dern, Jack Nicolson, Al Pacino - whose characters, unshaven, broke and alone, have observed the world's richest country from the bottom up.

Anything but neutral, Time Out Of Mind makes no secret of where the sympathies of Gere and his cast lie.

Gere plays George Hammond, a man with a weakness for drink, whose luck (with some exaggeration) runs parallel to the drop in Gere's stock at the box office a number of years ago. Now, with the recent success of Arbitrage (2012), in which Gere played a Wall Street shark, the actor could be poised for a strong eventual release of Time Out Of Mind in the US and internationally.

Given the philanthropic nature of a film about the crisis of homelessness, which Gere produced, he could get awards consideration for the kind of role that Hollywood considers courageous. It also helps internationally that long sections of the film are without dialogue, and require no subtitles.

Writer/director Oren Moverman dresses Gere - a walking Armani promotion in American Gigolo (1980)- in throwaway clothes, and grooms him to look like a man who hasn't slept or eaten. In the opening scene, Hammond is rousted out of an apartment (by property agent Steve Buscemi) and thrown onto the street, where he roams in search of food, a bed, some spare change, and a drink, and a daughter from whom he's estranged (Jena Malone). He's best at finding the drink.

Tight close-ups and a welcome absence of sentimentality make a long film watchable and make Gere's tramp character plausible. Moverman also lends visual imagination to images of homelessness that are burned into the audience's mind. When he sets up the camera and leaves it motionless to observe a scene - as doc-maker Frederic Wiseman did in Welfare (1975) and other films about the institutional treatment of the poor -- the audience feels a world that's indifferent to those with no lodging. When the camera does move, it's brusque, like a policeman rousing a sleeping man from a park bench.

Moverman also turns up the volume on ambient sound, sometimes to the point of annoyance. …

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