Screen

Film review: Richard Gere plays the inscrutable ‘Norman’

Image
Gere (left) and Ashkenazi go window shopping.
Courtesy

Two and a half stars

Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer Richard Gere, Lior Ashkenazi, Michael Sheen. Directed by Joseph Cedar. Rated R. Opens Friday at Suncoast and Town Square.

There’s something oddly appealing about the whimsically titled Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer, in the same way that there’s something oddly appealing about its title character, played by Richard Gere. The other characters in the movie are equally charmed and irritated by Norman, a sort of political and corporate gadfly whose actual profession and skills are never quite clear. A lot about Israeli writer-director Joseph Cedar’s movie is never quite clear, and the filmmaker’s oddball style only adds to the disjointed feel of the story, which jumps ahead in time at various points, tracing Norman’s relationship with an Israeli politician (Lior Ashkenazi) who eventually becomes prime minister.

The semi-comedic movie isn’t exactly a satire, and its determined vagueness about Norman’s actual business and political dealings makes it tough to connect it to any real-world events. But it’s not really a character study, either, because Norman himself remains deliberately obtuse, both to the audience and to the other characters. Cedar’s highly stylized direction, with striking use of split screens and slow motion, gives the movie a surreal, dreamlike feel, but it also makes the story and the characters harder to grasp. There’s something oddly appealing about Norman, but even by the end of the movie, no one can quite figure out what that is.

Tags: Film
Share

Josh Bell

Josh Bell is the film editor for Las Vegas Weekly, where he's been writing movie and TV reviews since 2002. ...

Get more Josh Bell
  • Returning to the Palms, LVFF 2018 offers talked-about indie films shorts programs, animation, student films, parties and more.

  • Solo: A Star Wars Story opens Valleywide on May 25.

  • Movie screens are becoming more like TVs, and robots will serve you frozen yogurt.

  • Get More Film Stories
Top of Story