Usually cast as a smooth operator, Richard Gere cuts a decidedly pathetic figure as the needy protagonist of this deft tragicomic drama.

A would-be wheeler-dealer forever scrabbling for deals among the upper echelons of New York’s Jewish community, he comes across as a delusional name-dropper and windy fibber.

However, his fortunes unexpectedly change after he befriends a rising Israeli politician (Lior Ashkenazi).

Boosted by Gere’s superb lead performance, plus sterling support from the likes of Steve Buscemi, Michael Sheen, Dan Stevens and Charlotte Gainsbourg, writer-director Joseph Cedar has fashioned a briskly funny and surprisingly touching modern-day fable.