Time Out of Mind Blu-ray Review
Richard famously played a really rich guy in “Pretty Woman” and it suited him well. He just had this air of importance about him that oozed from his pores and that isn’t a dig on him. For TIME OUT OF MIND, Gere plays the opposite end of the spectrum from Edward Lewis. He is a homeless man named George and he fully captures the man in body and soul. It is a remarkable achievement.
Director/Screenwriter Oren Moverman and Cinematographer Bobby Bukowski go for the ultimate realism with their filming style. This is New York City at its grittiest. The camera is an observer of life all round. You hear all the inane conversations going on and the mass of people moving to their destinations. The title of the film perfectly captures the situation that you go through watching this. You don’t know how many days pass or hours go by. It is all about survival.
George is your tour guide to this side of the town. George has been wondering for a decade in a haze after his wife died and he lost his job and house. The bottle and apathy have taken over and caused destruction to his life. His daughter Maggie (Jena Malone) has basically given up on him and his self destructive manner. She’s a bartender with her own life. But he watches her from a distance. At one point George instructs a man to give Maggie some old photos of her when she was a kid. He wants to remind her of a time when things were good.
George wanders the streets during the day. At night he tries to find somewhere warm to crash at. He first does this in a hospital waiting room. A nurse takes pity on his situation and tells him about a shelter nearby. In George’s mind though, he isn’t homeless. He has stayed with various women in the past for his shelter. That has changed. He tries to sweet talk the nurse into a living arrangement, but she declines him. An orderly chases him out when the temperature goes above freezing on another night.
We then see George as he travels the treacherous terrain of homeless shelters. George gets annoyed with simple questions from the workers there. He doesn’t have any sort of identification. This is where Gere shines. He shows George’s confusion and agitation at his predicament. Mental illness has taken a hold of his mind and he isn’t quite right. Gere doesn’t overdo it with various tics, but simmers with anger. George doesn’t know why he has to answer these evasive questions to get the help he needs. He just wants a bed to sleep on. You see and feel the desperation of these people in the shelters. There’s endless coughing and wheezing as they just try to survive each and every day.
George meets people on his travels. One of the people he meets is Dixon (Ben Vereen). Dixon talks a lot, while George mostly listens. Dixon used to be a musician before he fell on hard times. Dixon tries to get George out of his stupor. George mostly fumes as he tires of Dixon’s constant jabbering. It’s an odd couple for sure as they make their way in the world.
TIME OUT OF MIND is a hard film to watch. There is little let up in its presentation. It drags you down to the slums with it. There are times when the dialogue does lay it on a bit too thick. It spoon feds you when it really isn’t needed. The picture mainly works because of the commitment of Richard Gere. His acting isn’t a performance. It is an enveloping of this man’s way of life and his declining mental health. There is no doubt Gere did the film to shine a light on the problems the homeless face. He certainly does that here.
Video: The less glamorous parts of New York City are presented well here. The picture is crystal clear.
Audio: I had quite a bit of trouble with the sound here. There is a lot of background noise and you can miss some of the dialogue. They were going for gritty realism with the sights and sounds, so be prepared for it.
Homelessness PSA by Richard Gere
Featurette (2:24): This is short piece that has Richard Gere talking about the film.