It's probably a good idea not to underestimated Richard Gere. Or at least I've learned that he surprises me most in movies where the least is expected. I had never heard of Arbitrage before seeing it and he was tremendous; the same goes for the little-seen Time Out of Mind. Will Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer be Gere's next surprise?
Despite the overlong title that guarantees nothing more than art-house presence, the film earned some decent buzz out of TIFF and Telluride. Directed by Joseph Cedar (Footnote) and co-starring an impressive group that includes Lior Ashkenazi, Hank Azaria, Steve Buscemi, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Michael Sheen, and Dan Stevens, the film finds Gere as a modestly-successful New York fixer looking to make a big score through an Israeli diplomat. Here's the synopsis:
Norman Oppenheimer (Richard Gere) lives a lonely life in the margins of New York City power and money, a would-be operator dreaming up financial schemes that never come to fruition. As he has nothing real to offer, Norman strives to be everyone’s friend, but his incessant networking leads him nowhere.
Always on the lookout for someone willing to pay attention to him, Norman sets his sights on Micha Eshel (Lior Ashkenazi), a charismatic Israeli politician alone in New York at a low point in his career. Sensing Eshel’s vulnerability, Norman reaches out with a gift of a very expensive pair of shoes, a gesture that deeply touches Eshel. When Eshel becomes Prime Minister three years later, he remembers.
With his very real connection to the leader of a major nation, Norman is awash in the respect he has always craved. Flush with his newfound feeling of success, Norman attempts to use Eshel’s name to leverage his biggest deal ever: a series of quid pro quo transactions linking the Prime Minister to Norman’s nephew (Michael Sheen), a rabbi (Steve Buscemi), a mogul (Harris Yulin), his assistant (Dan Stevens), and a treasury official from the Ivory Coast. Norman’s kaleidoscopic plans soon go awry, creating the potential for an international catastrophe he must struggle to prevent.
Wow. Long title, long synopsis...let's hope all of this was worth it in the end. Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer opens next year.