Rated: R for some language. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: April 14, 2017 Released by: Sony Pictures Classics
Israeli-American Joseph Cedar's first English-language picture has been shortened from a lengthy subtitle of The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York fixer.
Norman has Richard Gere playing against his usual suave type as the title Jewish character with the surname Oppenheimer - here a 'small-time operator' forging connections to try to get into a ritzier stratum though with empty promises looking hardly natty. It's about someone referred to as a 'drowning man trying to wave at an ocean liner' looking to gain great fortune through his kind of wheeling and dealing.
Gere has piquant conversations with characters played by the likes of Dan Stevens, Harris Yulin, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Michael Sheen as a nephew, and Steve Buscemi as a rabbi. The first part of the subtitle comes into play from an important association (where shoes are purchased) with an Israeli politician (a fine Lior Ashkanazi) who'll become the country's Prime Minister and recognize the socially maladroit meddler.
A rascal of a charismatic has a conscience enkindled by mystery and lies hoping to capitalize off of what Thoreau noted as 'most men living lives of quiet desperation.' Besides his decent chemistry with all of the characters, especially Ashkanazi, Gere makes for an arresting figure, serving as a welcome 'fixer-upper' when it comes to later shifts to malady and stressed-out political thriller elements that aren't truthfully predictable from what preceded it.
Later montages from Cedar when it comes to interaction aren't smoothly rendered like earlier with the machinations of Norman have a spatially intriguing disorienting feel. The sum regretfully doesn't surpass its often amusingly acerbic parts, but the crafty Cedar knows what Gere is committed to providing for him. Which goes quite a way in a later career surge after memorable turns as a hedge fund magnate and a shady author.