Gumshoe - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Gumshoe Reviews

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½ December 10, 2016
Albert Finney is in his usual top form in Stephen Frears's devilishly comic directorial debut.
March 30, 2015
Wanted to be funny and interesting....should have just picked interesting.
½ March 25, 2015
albert finney channels his inner bogart in this crime drama.
Super Reviewer
September 3, 2014
I love Albert Finney but Humphrey Bogart he ain't.
December 4, 2013
It's legacy is that it probably served as massive inspiration for Dennis Potter's masterpiece, The Singing Detective. On its own, the black comedic dialogue soon wears thin and the story is too dull to take seriously. Worth a look for some true early 70s atmospherics and if you drift in and out you may enjoy the odd bit of dialogue.
April 21, 2013
Rubbish. A Brit tribute to American Pulp Fiction reads like a poor pastiche of a Jack Vettriano painting. Falls flat and the Albert Finney character is unlikeable without any charm whatsoever.
December 17, 2012
Dreary and uneven blend of mystery, comedy, and drama--Finney as Bogie!!
½ July 24, 2012
A perfect blend of humor, mystery, and drama. The films plays up some stereotypes even as it undermines them. In that regard this is a rare film indeed.
½ May 6, 2012
Frears' debut has Finney firing as a comic with PI delusions mixed up with dim Hammett wannabes. Snappy fun, if overbearingly scored.
Super Reviewer
½ March 29, 2011
Stephen Frears hit the big time, see, with 1971's "Gumshoe," a likable detective yarn. It was the acclaimed director's first theatrical feature, and he didn't direct his second until eight years later.

Albert Finney stars as Eddie Ginley, who's feeling restless in his crummy job as a Liverpool nightclub emcee. He fantasizes being a fast-talking detective as found in pulp fiction and old movies, and places an advertisement in the local paper. Shortly, he is contacted by someone who gives him a mysterious envelope containing a woman's photo, a wad of money and a gun. The story unfolds from there. The details of the case are hard to follow, but it doesn't really matter. The film's thrust is just the stylized rhythm of its dialogue and its winking homage to the Sam Spade/Philip Marlowe archetype. "Gumshoe" can't be labeled a mere spoof, however -- it aims for smiles rather than laughs, and plenty of scenes have a dramatic tone.

The prime targets of Eddie's wit are his brother William (a wealthy jerk whose shipping business may be crooked) and William's wife Ellen (Billie Whitelaw). Ellen is Eddie's former lover whom the more stable William stole away, but she still holds onto her feelings for Eddie. The crackling chemistry between Finney and Whitelaw is easily the film's greatest virtue. Two other enigmatic women dip in and out of Eddie's investigation, but don't quite make a mark like they should. A rival detective (Fulton Mackay) has some sharp moments, however.

Music fans should note that the young Andrew Lloyd Webber composed the film's score -- a rare undertaking for him.
February 8, 2011
A good concept that doesn't totally come off, but it's got some witty banter and some nice visuals to spare. I like that Finney's madness is kept a bit ambiguous, but I think that the film would have been better served if it had embraced the noir stylings more. Still, it's interesting to look at the early works of folks like Frears and DP Chris Menges. Was a bit disappointed by Frank Finlay's performance though - way too mundane a role for someone of his calibre.
January 12, 2010
Worth a watch. I liked the wit in this film.
June 29, 2009
In order to give a comment on the plot, I would have to watch it again. Which will never happen.
So lets just say:
TOO MUCH HEADROOM, and some missing chins!
½ May 24, 2009
The first feature by Stephen Frears is an unheralded gem of a film.
May 11, 2009
A wonderful performance by Finney is wasted in a throwback mystery comedy that never quite comes together nor manages to be very funny.
March 8, 2009
A bingo caller/aspiring comedian/would be private-eye (!!) gets caught up in a film-noir conspiracy set in Liverpool at the dawn of the 'seventies. Enjoyable drama, largery carried by Finney's charm. Fulton Mackay scores as a hard man (or is he?) threatening our hero.
½ August 31, 2008
Stephen Frears' first film is an ode to film noir disguised as parody. Finney carries the film on his back as when the pace in the middle falters he is more than able to bring up the creative energy. Good story with interesting plot devices that deserves a US DVD release.
August 22, 2008
A Raymond Chandler movie set against the deprivation of 70's Liverpool, complete with hard boiled dialogue and Bingo - What's not to like? This would be a nice companion piece to Get Carter
July 15, 2008
Finney really makes this one work. Frears' tempo becomes stagnant at times, understandable for a relative novice, so thankfully Finney's experience moves the plot along with a fine dollop of sparkle. A commendable debut made all the better by a classy lead player.
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