The new film from writer/director Joseph Cedar (Oscar nominees Footnote and Beaufort) is a comic and compassionate drama of a little man whose downfall is rooted in a human frailty all too easy to forgive—a need to matter. Norman Oppenheimer (Richard Gere) lives a lonely life in the margins of New York City power and money, a would-be operator dreaming up financial schemes that never come to fruition. Always on the lookout for someone willing to pay attention to him, Norman sets his sights on Micha Eshel (Lior Ashkenazi), a charismatic Israeli politician alone in New York at a low point in his career. Sensing Eshel’s vulnerability, Norman reaches out with a gift of a very expensive pair of shoes, a gesture that deeply touches Eshel. When Eshel becomes Prime Minister three years later, he remembers. With his very real connection to the leader of a major nation, Norman is awash in the respect he has always craved. Flush with his newfound feeling of success, Norman attempts to use Eshel’s name to leverage his biggest deal ever: a series of quid pro quo transactions linking the Prime Minister to Norman’s nephew (Michael Sheen), a rabbi (Steve Buscemi), a mogul (Harris Yulin), his assistant (Dan Stevens), and a treasury official from the Ivory Coast. Norman’s kaleidoscopic plans soon go awry, creating the potential for an international catastrophe he must struggle to prevent.
Read an Exclusive Filmmaker Letter from writer/director Joseph Cedar