Fingers - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Fingers Reviews

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½ June 27, 2015
I understand that this is the bastard step child of Mean Streets and other gritty, urban, realistic 70's cinema...I understand Harvey Keitel is a very good actor. It doesn't mean I have to like this film or any of the characters. In fact, it's extremely unlikeable, even before the prostate exam scene. (Yes, really. Perhaps another nod to the title?) The sound mixing is awful. The dichotomy of a man who loves classical piano and 60's pop music really doesn't work. If he had found his way to CBGBs instead of walking around listening to Summertime and Angel of the Morning---it still would have been awful but at least it would have been so aurally annoying. I haven't been so grateful a movie was over since Titanic.
jjnxn
Super Reviewer
December 24, 2014
What was the point of this awful, nonsensical movie? None that I could see. Ugly and aimless.
January 28, 2013
Based on a friend's recommendation.
½ January 4, 2013
Fascinating at times, but at other times it feels like it's slacking in certain areas which prevents it from reaching the Taxi Driver meets Bad Lieutenant vibe that the movie seems to be going for.

Harvey was great as always, and made it seem like he was actually playing the piano as good as his character was. I loved the character in general and even though I feel like he was little let down by the direction in some parts, I think the character of Johnny Fingers in general is what makes the movie so interesting to watch.

Worth a watch. Even if it might not be exactly what your expecting.
August 13, 2012
Very depressing ending, but many of Keitel's movies end that way. I really feel for Jimmy Angelleli. His life is really fucked up. The woman he falls in love with ends up being a prostitute. He is a guy that is sensitive, yet forced to be a thug by his father when all he really wants to do is play piano. It is a 70's classic but really a "life sucks" film.
July 17, 2012
Independent film-making at its best.
Super Reviewer
January 14, 2012
"Fingers" may be a homely stepbrother to Robert De Niro's classic Martin Scorsese vehicles, but it's an interesting curiosity (if hardly a great movie). Harvey Keitel breaks out as a leading man, carrying every scene as Jimmy, an immature, anxious twentysomething who's torn between dreams of becoming a classical pianist and his brutal work as a collector for his bookie father (Michael V. Gazzo, with his impossibly ravaged voice). He pursues a sensuous sculptress (Tisa Farrow, sister of Mia) and has rough sex with future Charlie's Angel Tanya Roberts (sporting the best bikini body you ever saw), but also struggles with homosexual temptations. Meanwhile, football legend Jim Brown (portraying Farrow's muscle-shirted boyfriend) schools him about how real men behave. Nothing quite falls into place for Jimmy, but he's pinning his hopes on an upcoming audition at Carnegie Hall.

Writer/director James Toback's script is rather erratic, and full of casual plot elements that don't go anywhere (Jimmy's confused sexuality, for one, and how about the traffic accident and the prostate problem?). But the most questionable ingredient is -- surprisingly -- Keitel's performance. He gives Jimmy a ridiculous number of tics and twitches and, strangest of all, decides to compulsively mouth all the notes as he fakes piano virtuosity. Anyone familiar with Glenn Gould or Keith Jarrett can guess how hard this is to watch. Expect some unintentioned laughs before the story inevitably turns violent.
December 17, 2011
James Toback and Harvey Keitel have created a truly original character, especially for the time it was released. Jimmy 'Fingers' Angelelli is a man full of bizarre contradictions. While very tough on the outside, he's very wounded. He has extreme mother and father issues and is caught trying to please both parents. And at one point can barely function without knowing that his "girlfriend" loves him. Performances down the line are fantastic, Keitel stands out obviously. Jim Brown as a pimp feels very natural, eeesh. While i admire how raw 'Fingers' is, i wish it would've stayed on the tracks just a little bit so the character of Jimmy would've stayed in my mind. That final shot has an intensity and power to it that few films will ever top.
October 27, 2011
The world is expecting so much from Jimmy. He's torn between his choices, not knowing what to do. It's OK. In a way, it reminds me of "The Graduate" (a much less interesting version).
½ March 8, 2011
It tries very hard to be as edgy and important as Mean Streets and Taxi Driver, but misses the mark on both counts. Still, what a performance from the always reliable Harvey Keitel. This was his first leading role after Mean Streets, and he showed that he could turn in an intense, nuanced, chilling performance very early on. It is fascinating to watch Jimmy Fingers deal with the extremes of his life: being both a very talented, if skittish, classical pianist, while also being a head-busting debt collector for his loan shark father. It looks like James Toback saw Godfather II and said, "Get me those guys." Dominic Chianese (Johnny Ola in GFII) shows up as an audition scout, Danny "Michael Corleone says hello!" Aiello is a thug, and Michael V. Gazzo (Frankie Pentangeli in GFII) plays the loan shark father. It's nice to see them, but it's also kind of distracting, given how many of them are there. Lenny "Luca Brasi" Montana from the first Godfather even shows up as a pizza shop owner who is roughed up by Fingers at one point. But I digress. It's worth a watch, but there are times when I'm not sure the film knows what it wants to say. It meanders into subplots that aren't as meaningful as they ought to be, and it dwells upon Fingers's duality to the point of becoming tiresome and redundant. Still, it's a very lean 90 minute film and has enough to make it worth seeing once, if you're into this kind of thing.
lesleyanorton
Super Reviewer
½ January 30, 2011
Rough and ready original version of the French THE BEAT MY HEART SKIPPED, with Harvey Keitel torn between the two career choices of being a classical pianist and roughing up people who owe his dad money. To my mind this, the original, is the better film, butthat's only because I like 70's films in general, and 70's films with Harvey Keitel in them in particular, and 70's films with Harvey Keitel playing a conflicted character who's highly likely to take his clothes off in at least one scene, the most of all.
August 15, 2010
Tyly loppu. Pianonpimputus alkoi vituttaa...
July 21, 2010
While nowhere near as good as something like Taxi Driver, this is in a similar vein. It's stark and gritty and is definitely a study of an outsider. The pianist angle is interesting to put into a movie about a loan shark. Some might find it boring at times, but it is a perfect example of a true independent film.
June 24, 2010
James Toback and Harvey Keitel have created a truly original character, especially for the time it was released. Jimmy 'Fingers' Angelelli is a man full of bizarre contradictions. While very tough on the outside, he's very wounded. He has extreme mother and father issues and is caught trying to please both parents. And at one point can barely function without knowing that his "girlfriend" loves him. Performances down the line are fantastic, Keitel stands out obviously. Jim Brown as a pimp feels very natural, eeesh. While i admire how raw 'Fingers' is, i wish it would've stayed on the tracks just a little bit so the character of Jimmy would've stayed in my mind. That final shot has an intensity and power to it that few films will ever top.
½ April 5, 2010
Keitel portrays a man who is caught between two worlds: that of a concert pianist and alternately, someone who collects mob money for his father. He is also a sex addict. This is a lot to place on one character. The movie slows down when violence arises as well as during the often aggressive sexual encounters. The lead character is confused. He doesn't know where he belongs. As a result, I wasn't able to get a sense of who he was either. I wasn't really rooting for him. Within the extra features was a documentary discussing the importance of this film as an indie project. While I really liked the grit of the New York scenery, I am starting to notice that extreme violence or incendiary acting is often confused with indie authenticity. I would have preferred that they spent more time developing characters and a script that allowed us more insight into who these people really are.
February 18, 2010
One of the great, gritty New York street films with one of Keitel's best performances.
January 5, 2010
1978 was a good year for Harvey Keitel - a terrific performance in Paul Schrader's debut film Blue Collar, and an even better one (his best ever?) in James Toback's debut film Fingers. Both films are as grim, visceral and intensely personal as all the best 70s American cinema. What surprised me most here, though, is how uncharacteristically lovable he is.
½ September 28, 2009
Keitel is delicious as always, but the plot is basically a far crappier Taxi Driver, with the director basically hammering in the subtexts to an almost hilarious degree. Still worth checking out if you like crime dramas, or want to see some formative Keitel things (then watch Bad Lieutenant or something)
½ June 22, 2009
A penetrating portrait of tortured, impotent masculinity and the foolishness of attempting to be something you're not.
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