Fingers (1978)

One of many titles I picked up at a Big Lots because people said it was good and it was naturally cheap at such a locale. An odd film; it is mentioned by Entertainment Weekly, apparently, as one of the top 25 mob movies ever. Frankly, I find that weird.
While crime and even organized crime is involved in this film…they really aren’t the point.
The movie is about Jimmy “Fingers” Angelelli, pianist and “collector” for his father.
He’s got a boombox he carries around everywhere, usually playing music from the 50s and 60s (such as the Chiffons), which occasionally causes conflicts with those around him. He goes from trying to live up to his mother–a concert pianist–to trying to live up to his father–a loan shark.
He’s not all that great at either, nor is he absolutely wonderful with women, suffering a condition that makes it difficult for him without violence. Keitel, of course, is the reason I picked the film up–yes, Harvey Keitel as Jimmy.
An excellent performance, as per usual for Keitel, and as well by Michael V. Gazzo as his father. A great soundtrack and some well-filmed shots throughout.
However, it suffered, to me, from a weak script–once dialogue got burning, it crackled, but in early scenes, and especially in love and sex scenes, it suffered visibly. The first few minutes are intensely awkward, and feel like a pretentious film as characters ask absurd, stupid, general, vague questions and take forever to answer each other. This, of course, highlights the other flaw–the editing/pacing. The story and characters are interesting (insofar as there is a story) and the performances excellent, but they’re strung out, and occasionally underwritten.
Still, it comes to a pretty cohesive end, and the parts that work really work.


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