Norman Oppenheimer is a small time operator who befriends a young politician at a low point in his life. Three years later, when the politician becomes an influential world leader, Norman's life dramatically changes for better and worse.
Not the most effective film, yet its intention is felt
Watching Time Out of Mind requires a lot of patience. For one thing, every time a scene becomes interesting, it abruptly cuts to another, disallowing your attention to take a full hold. Another thing is the voyeuristic long lens and unfiltered city noise, which are meticulous, but only work as obstacles when you try to observe the main character closely.
The ultimate problem is, however, this story of a homeless man tells not much more than what you have known or imagined before. It's hard to sympathize with Richard Gere's protagonist who is in constant denial, and the film, for the most part, visualizes only what is already visible, and merely scratches the surface of this troubled soul's current state.
The later part of the film becomes noticeably engaging when it employs some close-up shots and background music. You finally start feeling for each character and recognize the chemistry of actors, but you cannot help but wonder if the dramatic value of this is really worth all the leading time.
The film's execution is thus questionable, but one thing for sure is the sincere intention of actor-producer Gere. He wants us to take another look at the problem we all know exists by presenting it the way it is. It's interesting to know that, in his panhandler costume, the lead actor still looks handsome and healthy; yet people choose to go around and never bother to look close enough to notice a movie star. It would have been a far more interesting film if Gere had also delved into the minds of those people passing by, instead of just glancing over the mind of the homeless man.
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