Title – Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer (2016)
Director – Joseph Cedar (Footnote)
Cast – Richard Gere, Lior Ashkenazi, Michael Sheen, Steve Buscemi, Dan Stevens, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Hank Azaria
Plot – Norman Oppenheimer (Gere) is a small-time New York City fixer who acts as a middle-man and is an operator that isn’t afraid to fabricate his stories for the sake of closing a deal. When Norman befriends Israeli politician Micha Eshel (Ashkenazi) he finds his life changing for the better and the worse.
“There are two kinds of moguls: First kind is like a big ocean liner ship. Makes a lot of waves, a lot of noise, everybody sees it coming from miles away”
Review by Eddie on 22/11/2017
At a stage in his career, Hollywood heartthrob Richard Gere was one of the industry’s most recognisable leading men.
Roles in notable films like Days of Heaven, American Gigolo, An Officer and a Gentleman then key performances in 90’s hits like Pretty Woman, First Knight, Primal Fear and Runaway Bride established Gere in the big time, only for the 2000’s to be a relatively uneventful period for the famous actor.
While having the odd sprinkling of decent films in the last 17 or so years, Joseph Cedar’s Norman provides Gere with what’s arguably the now near 70 year old actor with one of the roles of his longstanding career.
Far from a huge hit, Norman is however one of those carefully constructed character studies that finds Gere playing New York City fixer (aka shyster) Norman Oppenheimer, a tragically determined “business operator/middleman” that finds himself in over his head after a chance meeting with a down on his luck politician turned Israeli prime minister Micha Eshel.
It’s an intimate film, one in which Gere appears in almost every scene and Gere owns his character, that is in many ways a deplorable wannabe big city player but also a character that remains endearing right till the films effective finale.
Surrounded by recognisable co-stars Dan Stevens, Steve Buscemi, Michael Sheen and Charlotte Gainsbourg, Norman is absolutely Gere’s film.
At times in amongst an unnecessarily convoluted and complicated film, Gere holds his head up high in a role that would’ve seemed impossible for the actor in the peak of his 80/90 heydays and as Norman’s life continues to spiral out of control and a new found sense of self-worth and importance creeps into his livelihood as a fixer and connector, Gere controls his performance in a film that doesn’t quite match it with its leading man.
Final Say –
A unique experience and one that remains consistently engaging thanks purely to Gere’s awards worthy turn, Norman is a small-scale character study of a man who’s lost his sense of purpose in the world, only to find it again in the most unlikely of circumstances, making Norman a must-see for fans of character driven dramas and Gere aficionados.
3 awkward dinner parties out of 5