★★★★ | Norman
Richard Gere is excellent as always as a man who is desperate to do a deal but can’t seem to get a break in the new film Norman.
Gere is Norman Oppenheimer, a New York hustler who appears to be living a life of lies – he doesn’t appear to have a place to live, he spends most of his time at a church that could possibly be a homeless shelter and talks about a daughter who may or may not exist. But he sees his fortunes possibly change upon a chance encounter with an up and coming politician. Then One day, after attending a conference, he sees Israeli politician Eshel (Lior Ashkenazi), Norman ingratiates himself with him by buying him an expensive pair of shoes, shoes that Norman probably can’t afford to pay for, but he does (though luckily for him Eshel refuses to get a suit as well). Three years later, as Norman still struggles to get one of his deals done, Eshel becomes the Israeli Prime Minister, so Norman realises that this could be his big chance to get into the big leagues. But what turns out to be a friendly relationship between Norman and the Prime Minister turns into nothing as Eshel sees Norman’s desperate attempts to be close to him a liability, which leaves Norman basically back to where he began – a fixer with nothing to fix.
Gere does a nice turn as the ageing New York Norman who never quite seemed to have been much of a success in life. He plays Norman with such believability, desperateness, and a bit of wit that it’s hard not to fall for him a bit. The film’s subtitle – The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer – pretty sums up this film – but it’s Gere, who was excellent as a homeless man in 2014’s Time Out of Mind – who shines and makes this film worth a watch. And he’s as handsome as ever.
Norman is now out in UK cinemas.
Tim Baros writes film and theatre articles/ reviews for Pride Life and The American magazines and websites, as well as for Hereisthecity.com, Blu-RayDefinition.com and TheGayUK.com. He has also written for In Touch and TNT Magazines, SquareMile.com and LatinoLife.co.uk. He is a voting member for the UK Regional Critics Circle and the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA – of which he is the UK representative). In addition, he has produced and directed two films: The Shirt and Rex Melville Desire: The Musical.