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TIFF 2014 Review: Time Out of Mind

It may be the closest cinematic representation of what it’s like to be homeless; failing that, Time Out of Mind certainly puts you ill at ease and lost in time and space.

Oren Moverman’s atmospheric, lyrical drama starring Richard Gere as an aimless, houseless New Yorker is startling at the start and tough to grapple with throughout. Gere is George, and man forced out of an abandoned New York City apartment and on to the streets, but by the looks of it, he has been around this world for a while.

The audience isn’t exactly in step with George, but definitely a part of his lifestyle. We watch him through windows, storefronts, and fences, from high overhead and far down the street. We hear what he hears, as conversations, sirens, radios, television sets, and the din of the city around George seep in. It’s as if to say George’s own thoughts are being drowned out, leaving the viewer with an almost confrontational film.

A nebulous narrative has George grappling with taking up residence in a homeless shelter and dealing with the strangers that wander into his life there, all the while trying to reconnect with his daughter Maggie (Jena Malone).

Again though, we may led to believe that this is the first time George has stayed at a shelter and that this journey for his daughter may be long-lasting, but in this circuitous, affecting story, George may be venturing over familiar ground.

Gere does indeed lose himself in character, and walking the streets of New York City, it’s certainly easy to pass him by. A caricature, however, he is not. At times he is lucid and determined, at others frustrated and resigned. He doesn’t say much save for protestations, until that is a loquacious frequent shelter resident, boasting musical skills, decides to be his best friend.

This character is a bit more of a trope, but his introduction livens up the film, offering somewhat of a reprieve to the noise and chaos. Ultimately, though a tough watch, it’s a well-executed and dedicated exercise.

[star v=35]

Anthony Marcusa

A pop-culture consumer, Anthony seeks out what is important in entertainment and mocks what is not. Inspired by history, Anthony writes with the hope that someone, somewhere, might be affected.