Belfast Telegraph

Norman review: Richard Gere delivers a tour de force

 

By Damon Smith

Norman Oppenheimer (Richard Gere), the eager-to-please New York consultant at the centre of Joseph Cedar's fascinating character study, is a social limpet, who claims to know most of the movers and shakers in the city's Jewish and business communities.

He orchestrates a chance encounter with middle-ranking Israeli politician Micha Eshel (Lior Ashkenazi). A rash decision to buy his target a pair of designer shoes reaps rewards three years later when Micha is elected prime minister of Israel. The new leader doesn't forget Norman's act of generosity and welcomes the Manhattan fixer into his inner circle, to the chagrin of the Israeli chief of staff, Duby (Yehuda Almagor).

Norman is galvanised by Gere's tour de force embodiment of a leech, who weathers a tsunami of rejection and humiliation if it will land him an invite to the top table. Much as we hate to admit it, Cedar's film reminds us that there is a little Norman in us all.

Three stars

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