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Film Review: 'Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of New York Fixer' Cautionary Tale

by Todd A. Smith

 

(Photo Credit: Sony Pictures Classics)

 

Clichéd Character 


 

The clichés have become redundant over the years but they are ohh so true.


Don’t let your right hand know what your left hand is doing.


It is not what you know but whom you know.


Loose lips sink ships.


And on and on and on.


Another one is with age comes wisdom.


Unfortunately, for Norman (Richard Gere) and so many other old fools, wisdom does not always come with age and experience because some of the biggest fools are old as Methuselah.


In the film “Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer,” the title character Norman Oppenheimer should be in Boca Raton, Fla. or some other retirement community playing bridge, shuffleboard and eating things like Jell-O that do not require a full set of teeth.


Instead, he is old as dirt in New York City still trying to become a big shot, name dropping and lying just to get his foot in the door with the movers and shakers of the world.


While many big shots in New York City avoid Norman like the plague, an unsuspecting Israeli diplomat, Eshel (Lior Ashkenzai) befriends nobody Norman on a trip to the “Big Apple” after Norman buys him a thousand dollar pair of shoes.


Norman desperately wants to partner with Israeli powerbrokers and New York powerbrokers on an investment fund, but his plans go awry when real New York players like Taub (Josh Charles) cannot verify whom Norman is and if he really has connections with Eshel.


After begging Eshel to attend a dinner at Taub’s house, Norman is asked to leave Taub’s house because Eshel is a no-show and no one at Taub’s powerful event knows who Norman is.


However, when Eshel is elected prime minister of Israel and the two spend time together like old pals at a New York event, Norman is suddenly the biggest celebrity in a town filled with celebrities.


Despite his newfound respect and stature in New York, he cannot avoid his lies, delusion and name-dropping.


When he runs his mouth too much about Eshel on a plane, his moderate rise becomes a tragic and quick fall, which might be detrimental to everyone who has trusted him.


“Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer” is a decent and watchable cautionary tale of what not to do when striving for excellence, which is do not pretend to be a big shot when you clearly are not a big shot.


Everyone knows someone who tries too hard to be somebody.


They lie on their talent.


They like on their skill set.


They lie about whom they know.


They even lie about what they do.


And almost always, someone who is more talented, knowledgeable, sophisticated and well connected calls them out on their lies.


While “Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer” is halfway decent, the film really succeeds because of the message behind Norman’s madness.


Never try to be more than you are.


Keep your mouth closed at all times.


Keep a small circle.

 

When one does those things, he/she limits the possibility of a public and tragic fall from grace.



REGAL RATINGS

FOUR CROWNS=EXCELLENT

THREE CROWNS=GOOD

TWO CROWNS=AVERAGE

ONE CROWN=POOR


This article was published on Friday 05 May, 2017.
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