Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Within the parameters of SD-DVD, this became a mostly solid presentation.
As long as I considered those constraints, sharpness looked fine. Inevitably some softness impacted wider shots, but most of the film offered nice accuracy and definition.
Jagged edges and shimmering weren’t a problem, and I saw no print flaws. However, light edge haloes crept into the image at times and created minor distractions.
Colors seemed low-key, with an emphasis on light orange and teal. These choices felt less than exciting, but the DVD represented them adequately. Blacks provided reasonable depth, while shadows appeared fairly smooth. Ultimately, the image worked fine for its format.
Don’t expect fireworks from the film’s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, as we got a mix heavy on music and general environmental material. Even when the material broadened, it stayed restrained and effects could seem borderline monaural. This became a restricted track for 5.1.
Audio quality was fine. Speech seemed natural and concise, and the score demonstrated pretty good vivacity. Effects did little to tax my system but they were clear and accurate enough. Overall, this ended up as a passable mix.
Two featurettes appear here. Making the Connection goes for four minutes, 37 seconds and offers info from writer/director Joseph Cedar, producers Miranda Bailey and Oren Moverman, and actors Richard Gere, Steve Buscemi, Lior Ashkenazi, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Hank Azaria.
They discuss Gere’s role and performance as well as Cedar’s impact on the production. This becomes a fluffy, superficial overview.
An Evening With Norman lasts 22 minutes, 50 seconds and features a panel with Cedar and Gere. Moderated by Dateline Hollywood’s Pete Hammond, they cover Gere’s part and his casting/performance, the film’s origins and development, story and characters, supporting actors, and shooting in New York.
Though not a great look at the film, “Evening” does manage to get into a mix of useful topics. It ends up as a mostly informative piece.
The disc opens with ads for The Comedian, The Hollars, Maudie, The Meddler, Paris Can Wait and Maggie’s Plan. We also get the trailer for Norman.
Due to a strong lead performance by Richard Gere, Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer remains fairly engaging. However, its narrative flow lets it down and makes it more of a slog to watch than I’d expect. The DVD presents more than adequate picture and audio as well as minor supplements. Gere carries the film but isn’t enough to make it great.