Set amongst the iconic streets of New York, low-budget independent film, Time Out of Mind is a two hour social commentary on the life of a homeless man. It centres on George Hammond (Richard Gere), whose name we don’t learn until over halfway through the film. No ID, no home, no immediate contacts; George is truly an invisible citizen.
With the main dialogue throughout the film being conversations of people passing by the protagonist, it is clear director Oren Moverman’s intention is to give you a purely observational perspective; forcing you to look at what you usually walk right by. Through off-beat cinematography, we watch George, at times through dirty windows or from a bird’s-eye view, as he moves from street benches to hospital waiting rooms to shelters in search of nothing more than a blanket to help him sleep.
While eye-opening, the film lacks story, giving us only brief dramatic moments of hysteria, frustration and regret. Performance wise, the acting is on point and occasionally mesmerising.
While Time Out of Mind does achieve what it sets out to do – force audiences to acknowledge society’s mistreatment of our invisible citizens, it does not ensure a lasting impression.