Richard Gere is an under the radar Best Actor contender for “Time Out of Mind”

Richard Gere time out of mind
Last year at the New York Film Festival, I saw Richard Gere give an absolutely fantastic performance in the movie Time Out of Mind. I thought that Gere gave one of the best performances of the fest and would surely be in Oscar contention if the film came out. Well, after some apparent hand wringing, it was decided that 2014 wouldn’t be his year and instead Oren Moverman’s flick would be a 2015 release. As such, Gere and Moverman now enter this awards race this time around with a release date on Friday. He may remain a dark horse or even a long shot, but Gere definitely deserves consideration by the Academy.

The film is a look at a homeless man on the streets of New York City. Gere plays George, an older gentleman down on his luck who goes from squatting in an empty apartment to the sidewalk to a homeless shelter, never quite sure what’s next. He has a daughter he wishes he could reconnect with and fellow homeless folk who he considers a friend, but every single day is a struggle for him. Gere is captivating in the lead role, while Moverman co-writes with Jeffrey Caine and directs as well. In addition to Gere, the cast also includes Jena Malone and Ben Vereen, as well as basically cameos from Steve Buscemi and others.

There are a lot of things to like about Time Out of Mind, but the central thing to praise is undoubtedly the work of Gere. Despite this being an opportunity to show off, he makes it a stripped down performance. Never does it feel showy or artificial, which is no small feat. It’s the sort of role that you wish he got more often these days, as Gere is a rather underrated actor. He’d wanted to make this film for years and is actually a producer on it as well, so you know it happened to be a passion project for him. Luckily, all of that passion went towards making the best movie possible, one fueled by his very strong acting.

Also worth giving a thumbs up to for sure is the filmmaking work of Moverman. He’s always a visually interesting director (having previously done The Messenger and Rampart), as well as an underrated writer (in contention this year for co-writing Love & Mercy, for example), so when he gets to do both you usually have much to appreciate. The cinematography by Bobby Bukowski is striking in how observant it is, while Moverman’s direction attempts that at all turns. Sure, at certain points his script has to take dramatic turns, but by and large that’s avoided, all in the name of making something that feels real and providing Gere with the tools to do the most honest work of his career so far.

Awards wise, it’ll definitely be an uphill battle for this particular contender, but it’s still worth making note of. If it can make a dent during the precursor season, the Academy might actually take notice. Obviously, Best Picture, Best Director (for Moverman), Best Supporting Actor (for Vereen), Best Supporting Actress (for Malone), and Best Cinematography are probably the longest of long shots, while Best Original Screenplay (for Caine and Moverman) is only slightly more likely. As such, it’ll be Best Actor (for Gere) or bust for Time Out of Mind. Gere will need to show up a lot during the precursors, but even then, he might top out at an Independent Spirit Award nomination. We shall see.

Overall, what you really need to know is that Time Out of Mind is a great film and is hitting theaters this weekend in limited release. It deserves to be seen, not just as another reminder of Moverman’s talents behind the camera, but for Gere’s amazing work as well. It’s got one of the best lead actor performances of 2015 so far, which is no small feat at all. You owe it to yourself to check this one out if you love good acting, plain and simple. If Gere can catch fire, we’ll have plenty more on this movie during the precursors, but regardless of that, don’t miss this one. It really deserves to be seen…

Be sure to give a shot to Time Out of Mind, in theaters this weekend!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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