Norman Reviewed By Jon E Clist


The Premise
Norman Oppenheimer is the President of New York based Oppenheimer Strategies. His word-of-mouth business is consulting work largely in American-Israeli business and politics, that focus due to being Jewish. Most of that work is as a fixer: doing work that others don't want to do and with which they don't want to be officially associated. In reality, Norman is a bit of a shyster, and not a very good one at that. His office is comprised of his cell phone and whatever is stuffed in his satchel which is usually slung over his shoulder as he wanders the streets.

The Review
First up, Norman is a lovable rogue. Richard Gere does a smashing job of portraying this gentleman who would appear to only be interested in helping people. Constantly asking what can he can do for pretty much very one that he meets. You spend the most part of the film feeling drawn in to his wonder and general positive attitude and yet as the story unfolds that delight starts to turn towards that of somewhat embarrassment and a kind of uncomfortable shame.

The story though slow at times is one of those wonderful percolators, that kind of warms you up along the way as it sucks you in to a still kind of simple tale. It is not only Gere who brings the eclectic character into the foreground. Add in some amazing casting in the form of Steve Buchemi, Hank Azaria, Dan Stevens, Michael Sheen and even Charlotte Gainsbourg. Wow what a powerhouse cast that kind of just mill around while Norman does his thing.

Half of the film was shot in New York City and half of it in Jerusalem, Israel. This makes for a rather interesting collection of settings that help to interweave the political and social nature of the story.

This is the first English-speaking feature film of writer-director Joseph Cedar, and you would have to class it as a solid successful dipping of the toes into this new field. In all honesty, Cedar has does a brilliant job of providing a solid and yet simple story that actually takes the viewer on a journey that you can’t help but stare at, like an evitable car crash that you know is coming but you still kind of hope that perhaps it won’t.

The Verdict
Richard Gere at his best, showing that with age still comes opportunities to develop awesome characters with a real depth and interest factor.

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 25th May 2017
Rating: TBC
Duration: 117 minutes 
Genre:  Drama
Starring: Richard Gere, Lior Ashkenazi, Michael Sheen, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Dan Stevens, Steve Buscemi, Jonathan Avigdori, Yehuda Almagor, Hank Azaria
Director: Joseph Cedar (Footnote)