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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Movie Review - Time Out of Mind

Time Out of Mind (2015)
Starring Richard Gere, Ben Vereen, Jena Malone, and Kyra Sedgwick
Directed by Oren Moverman
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***

Voyeuristically filmed at times, writer-director Oren Moverman's Time Out of Mind follows the life of George (Richard Gere), a homeless and possibly mentally ill man who roams New York City looking for food and shelter (along with the more than occasional consumption of alcohol).  Finding it difficult to sleep on the street, George decides to move into a homeless shelter where he meets the rambling and often nonsensical Dixon (Ben Vereen) and they strike up an odd, oftentimes contentious friendship.  Growing desperate to earn money, George reaches out to his estranged daughter Maggie (Jena Malone), a bartender who wants nothing to do with her father after he abandoned her for reasons revealed late in the film.

Moverman's camera plants itself far away from his main figures at times, causing the audience to feel as if they're peering in on George's life, creating a distance between the viewer and the characters that actually works surprisingly well.  As the film progresses, the camera gradually moves in a bit closer.  The concept is reminiscent of how most of us would feel around a homeless man -- keeping him at a distance, but, should we get to know him, we may welcome him into our circle with a bit less reticence.

Time Out of Mind is a very slow burn -- too slow at times.  The film's first half hour contains very little dialog, simply trying to paint a picture of George's difficult life on the street.  While it does a good job of getting across the trials facing the homeless (although it doesn't present solutions or espouse preachiness), the flick grows a bit wearisome at several moments throughout its runtime.  A condensing of certain aspects would've done wonders here, but the other Oren Moverman film I've seen -- The Messenger -- carries that same cinematic mindset of moving at a slower pace.  The film picks up particularly at the end as George attempts to reconcile his relationship with Maggie, but it's a bit too little too late.

Gere is very good here -- he's in every scene and there's a subtlety he brings to the character that never screams "Pity Me" which I very much appreciated.  Malone also makes the most of her two small scenes with Gere and it had me wishing the film would've explored her character in greater detail.  She really delivers in her moments and the film brightens in terms of story when she takes the stage.  It's these personal moments and connections Gere has with others that bring Time Out of Mind to life and while I appreciate Moverman's attempt here at creating something different, it doesn't work all the time, but it's certainly not a complete disappointment either.

The RyMickey Rating:  C+

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