Norman Oppenheimer is a small time operator who befriends a young politician at a low point in his life. Three years later, when the politician becomes an influential world leader, Norman’s life dramatically changes for better and worse.
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Much like its title character, Cedar's film rises moderately to the upper echelons of filmmaking only to tragically fall -- even if in noteworthy fashion -- into the tropes of this type of story. In between we're given a wonderful performance by Richard Gere, a ridiculous plot and an incoherent tone. It should have been great. Instead, it could have used a fixer of its own.
Another victim of Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu. A movie about a conflict of interest, corruption, delusions of grandeur, and greed looks so tame, quaint, meek, and uninteresting if compared to the real thing, i.e. the American and Israeli contemporary political scene. Fantasy cannot keep up with the dystopian reality that we call everyday life.
Is this a comedy? Is it satirising something? Are we meant to be inspired by Norman, sickened by him or just made sad? Is Richard Gere jewish? Are any of the actors jewish? These and many more questions hold me back from liking Norman more, which I want to because it must have taken a Norman like effort to wrangle the many Jewish funding bodies behind this competently clever mid-budget rarity.
Without the psychological depth this needed some business acumen, sadly exhibiting not much of either. There's something to be said for leaving Norman a cypher, as if the palm-greasing is more about the performance than the self, but when the tale is this ridiculously specific it feels odd. Timely but confounding, noble in its strangeness and awareness no one knows what the fuck is going on. 2.5