Richard Gere further enhances his reputation by giving a standout performance that drives the film “Norman,” showcased at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. Gere plays the title role as a New York fixer, who works hard to build a reputation as one who can make things happen in this comedy-tinged drama written and directed by Israeli-American Joseph Cedar.
Never one to miss an opportunity, Norman encounters Israeli foreign minister Eshel, played by Lior Ashkenazi, and insists on buying him an expensive pair of shoes. The official is reluctant, but taken by Norman’s generosity and personality, he accepts.
What Norman could not know at the time was the Eshel was to become Israel’s prime minister. Now the stakes are higher and Norman, on the basis of his earlier encounter, is pressed to get favors done. However, this time Eshel is not easy to contact.
The film is largely concerned with Norman’s wheeling and dealing and his increasing desperation—ingredients that enable Gere to show off his acting prowess. In the process we also get a portrait of the conniving that goes on to get access and favors.
All is done colorfully and suspensefully under Cedar’s direction. The good supporting cast includes Charlotte Gainsbourg, Michael Sheen, Dan Stevens and Steve Buscemi. But this is definitely Gere’s movie. A Sony Pictures Classics release. Reviewed November 21, 2016.