2017-06-02 / Entertainment/Lifestyles

Norman – Fixer Fixed

By Robert M. Snyder

To repeat the full title of the film, “Norman,” is almost to spoil it. But here goes anyway —Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer.

Not to worry. The dark look into the mechanics of politics (Israeli-style) is saved by the sharp wit of filmmaker Joseph Cedar and the magnetic performance of star Richard Gerr, as the hapless Norman Oppenheimer. A sometime businessman and consultant, Norman sees himself as a “fixer,” or “macher” in Yiddish. Always angling on the edge of political power, he saddles up to those thought important and offers to make connections to “dear friends” in the same world. The question is: Are the connections real? In Norman‘s mind, if he can convince the “powerful” that they are, then they are. It’s a Ponzi scheme with people, not pay.

Norman follows an Israeli deputy to a deputy, Micha Eshel (Lior Ashkenazi) to a clothing store, where Micha is unable to afford an expensive pair of shoes. Norman whips out check and covers it to the tune of more than $1,000.

Years later, the favor has its reward when Micha becomes prime minister of Israel. The new leader remembers Norman and publicly praises him. Suddenly, Micha’s “dear friend” is a “somebody.” Everyone wants his business card, even Rabbi Blumenthal (Steve Buscemi), who hopes Norman can raise much-needed synagogue renovation money.

Norman’s place in the sun is short-lived He is conveniently implicated in a bribery scandal, involving the prime minister.

Strangely, Norman is willing to take the rap. At least, this way he’s important. Norman is also important, particularly in these politically prickly times.

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