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Watched: 2 February

Richard Gere has been picking some very interesting roles of late, and continues his recent penchant for playing older men on the fringes of society with Norman, a fixer who claims to know just about everyone within New York’s Jewish community (though there’s never any clear evidence that he actually does). In this film by the much-celebrated Joseph Cedar, Norman sets out to befriend an up-and-coming Israeli politician, a calculated move that brings rewards (of sorts) when said politician subsequently becomes the country’s Prime Minister. Suddenly and briefly – and this is shown via one superb sequence which takes on a fantastical air as well as a vaguely nightmarish tone – everyone in town wants to be Norman’s friend, aware that he might have the Prime Minister’s ear and (potentially) access to vast sums of money. But ultimately Norman is a chancer, part wannabe and part delusional loser with a slight whiff of De Niro’s Rupert Pupkin about him; and as the title of the film attests, any status or influence he enjoys will only ever be fleeting. We don’t learn much else about this well-turned-out but mysterious man – he has a lawyer nephew (Michael Sheen), but otherwise there’s no suggestion of a family and we don’t get to see where he lives – but Gere completely sells the character, aided by small and effective supporting turns (Lior Ashkenazi, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Steve Buscemi, Isaach de Bankolé, Dan Stevens and Josh Charles round out the cast). It drags a little, at times, but there’s a light touch to most of it. (***)