“That which is crooked cannot be made straight.”
These are the penetrating lines of homeless, New-York-City Man, George Hammond — movingly portrayed by Richard Gere — in director Oren Moverman’s recent film, “Time Out of Mind” (2015). The film follows the lonely exploits of the protagonist as he constantly fights the reality of his situation. Shot documentary style — reminiscent of the mumblecore movement — the film effectively explores the homeless lifestyle.
Gere took to the streets in character with his movements captured by hidden cameras, revealing how Americans treat those who live on the streets. Gere, in character, is constantly ignored, yelled at and even attacked by those who pass him. One scene shows a pair of youths on the street throwing aluminum trash cans at the elderly protagonist.
Dirty, unorganized and prison-like — life within homeless shelters are not much better. Aggressiveness among guests is common, and visitors are constantly thrown out for breaking any of the strict rules. Hammond attempts to avoid the shelter as much as possible.
Genuinely feeling pain for Hammond, we learn more about his personal life through small, episodic pieces, each scene using visual components to tell the story.
Effectively blurring the lines between what is real and what is not, the familiar-yet-unique documentary style creates as much realism as possible. Multiple camera shots and angles, taken from far above and through windows, capture the audience’s sense of real-life continuity. Using these tools, the film is able to convey and explore themes of loneliness, redemption and love, revealing to the audience the life and struggles of the typical homeless man on the street.
Via film, the director is able to unveil the true nature of how we often see straight through those we have given up on. Although not for everyone, the film embraces the emotions and unexpected situations pertaining to being homeless, proving to create a powerful viewing experience.
Zachary McIntyre is a sophomore film production major. This review reflects the views of the writer only.