‘Norman’ is a compelling New York story | Things to Do in Tucson … – Arizona Daily Star

Posted By on May 26, 2017

Norman Oppenheimer (Richard Gere) describes himself as a businessman and is always prepared to hand you his card. But he doesnt seem to transact business in an office, and if he has any employees they must all be on vacation.

Walking the streets of New York, and contemplating yet another encounter with power brokers who are barely aware that he exists, Norman appears to be at once purposefully engaged and serenely detached. But hes forever on the lookout for the right opportunity.

That comes along in the form of Micha Eshel (Lior Ashkenazi), a prominent Israeli politician whos clearly in need of a friend and mightily impressed when Norman insists on buying him an outrageously expensive pair of shoes. Their bond promises to finally validate Normans claims to be a man of influence.

But politics can be as tricky as friendships are ephemeral and loyalties can be even trickier. Normans connection with Eshel brings him under the scrutiny of people who may not have the best interests of either at heart. Among them is the sharp-eared Alex (Charlotte Gainsbourg), whom Norman may live to regret engaging in conversation.

Norman has always known just whom to flatter. But does he know whom to trust?

Norman is a cautionary tale about ambition gone awry. Working from his own screenplay, director Joseph Cedar (Footnote) captures the frenetic allure of New York, which emerges as very much a character in its own right. The film is smart about the role of pressing the flesh in a city in which who you know is at least as important as what you know.

And Gere, who gets to the essence of Normans desire to belong to the upper echelons of society, proves to be inspired casting. Its a late-career triumph for an actor whose gifts havent always been appreciated.

Norman may be a mere wannabe, but Norman is a small gem.

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'Norman' is a compelling New York story | Things to Do in Tucson ... - Arizona Daily Star

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