Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer

Written and directed by acclaimed Israeli filmmaker Joseph Cedar, Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer is a terrifically well-crafted film about a scheming small-time fixer in New York City; Richard Gere’s devastating performance is what makes the film truly great. When we first meet Norman Oppenheimer, played by Richard Gere in one of his greatest roles, he is down on his luck and is desperate for any business connection and willing to do almost anything to be a well-respected fixer. Like we do not know much about his personal history, what he actually does as a fixer and how he makes money is never very clear in the movie. Many people he encounters who recognize him actively avoid him, including Dan Stevens’ character who is given a business deal while jogging in Central Park and must literally run away from Norman. Eventually, he befriends the minor Israeli politician Eshel, played by Israeli actor Lior Ashkenazi, and buys him a very expensive pair of shoes. The movie fast-forwards three years when Eshel rises to power in Israeli politics and becomes the prime minister of Israel. Norman, who still has not been very successful as a fixer, tries to cultivate this relationship with such a powerful man as Eshel but to no avail because he is never allowed to communicate with him. At the same time, Norman plays up his relationship and finds himself entangled in a whole set of deals with those who previously ignored him, including his quasi-friend played by Michael Sheen and his rabbi desperate for funds to keep the synagogue and played by Steve Buscemi. Acting out like a Shakespearean tragedy or a Woody Allen film, Norman’s life begins to rapidly unravel and is scapegoated by a hesitant Eshel who is being investigated for corruption. The best part of the film is Richard Gere’s nuanced performance as a desperate man who comes off as a scheming and not skillful fixer. Overall, I enjoyed the well-timed pacing and elaborate writing that made the movie feel more like a dramatic play, complete with a star-studded cast and the superb Richard Gere.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s