Norman Oppenheimer is a small time operator frustrated at being marginalized by the New York elite. Norman takes a gamble when he befriends a young politician at a low point in his life and three years later it pays off when the politician becomes an influential world leader. Norman's life dramatically changes as a result. For the better and worse.... "You're a drowning man waving at an ocean liner." "Yeah but I'm a good swimmer. Don't forget that."
his interaction between Norman Oppenhaimer (Gere) and his long suffering lawyer nephew Philip Cohen (Michael Sheen) in the opening minutes of this delightful film beautifully sums up the titular character. Norman Oppenhaimer is a small time fixer looking to get involved in business deals with some of the biggest players in the New York elite. Unfortunately for Norman, these are not people that he generally has access too.
e sees an opportunity when he comes across Micha Eshel (Lior Ashkenazi), a low-level Israeli politician and decides to invest some time (and an expensive pair of shoes) in forming a friendship with him. This pays off big time when Micha becomes the Prime Minister of Israel three years later and remembers Norman when the two reunite at a function. Suddenly Norman is known as a man who has the ear of an influential world leader, which opens doors for him like never before. Of course it also naturally presents him with even greater problems than he ever imagined. Being connected has its downsides. Who knew?
he film is the English language debut of award winning Israeli filmmaker Joseph Cedar and boasts one of the most impressive casts you'll see this year. Gere is supported in the film by the likes of Michael Sheen, Dan Stevens, Hank Azaria, Steve Buscemi, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Josh Charles and Harris Yulin. Each one of them is on form here and do the necessary ground work to allow Gere to blossom. Cedar's assured direction guides the narrative through four acts of a rise and fall story (the film's full title is Norman: The Mediocre Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer) that sees Norman's persistence pay off after years of hustling. Of course it's the same persistence that eventually leads to his downfall. 
he film really sings though when Gere and the effortlessly charismatic Ashkenazi are on screen together. Norman and Micha are both trying to use each other at various points throughout the film. Whether or not the friendship that the pair seem to strike up is genuine or not is left to the audience to decide. 
ere has never been better than as Norman. Endearing one moment, infuriating the next, you're always rooting for him even if he is the sort of schemer that you'd actively try to keep at arms length in your own life.