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.
Norman Oppenheimer is the President of New York based Oppenheimer Strategies. His word-of-mouth business is consulting work largely in American-Israeli business and politics, that focus due to being Jewish. Most of that work is as a fixer: doing work that others don't want to do and with which they don't want to be officially associated. In reality, Norman is a shyster, and not a very good one at that. His office is comprised of his cell phone and whatever is stuffed in his satchel which is usually slung over his shoulder as he wanders the streets. What he promises is making connections, setting up a meeting between his guy and the other guy. Generally, "his guy" is non-existent, he dropping names of people he usually doesn't know to make connections. A usual tactic he uses is to say that his deceased wife was personally connected to so-and-so, such as being a babysitter, those stories always untrue. All he needs is for one of the people that he approaches to believe a story to build ...Written by
There are two kinds of moguls: First kind is like a big ocean liner ship. Makes a lot of waves, a lot of noise, everybody sees it coming from miles away. Like Jo Wilf. I think your boss, Minister Maor, is actually... in his close circle of friends. of course. And then there is Arthur. Well, Arthur is more like a nuclear submarine. he's quiet, he's fast, he's young. Extremely sophisticated.
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Gere wrings sympathy out of a truly annoying character
Full title of this Joseph Cedar movie is Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer. Norman the person is not very likable. He stands too close when he talks to you, he's relentless in searching for an angle, he's quick with the half-to-full-lie. But in Richard Gere's nuanced portrayal, initial discomfort turns to something more like sympathy. How he's treated by the people who see him for what he is becomes simultaneously justified and painful. The sympathy is possible because Norman isn't angling to benefit himself, at least not financially. He only wants to feel important, that he matters in the world, yet he remains "always just a few capillaries removed from the beating heart of power," says A.O. Scott in the New York Times. When he has a setback, and he has plenty of them, you see the gears turning until he hits a way to make the best of it. When Norman "bumps into" an Israeli diplomat and does him a favor, right there you know the seeds of calamity are planted. I won't say more about the plot, which is complicated in the delicious way that only someone like Norman could complicate it. Israeli actor Lior Ashkenazi plays the diplomat; Michael Sheen plays Norman's put-upon nephew; Steve Buscemi as the rabbi of a financially distressed congregation is "a marvel of wit and off-kilter humanity," Scott says; and Manhattan plays itself, beautifully.
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