James Toback – Fingers (1978)
Harvey Keitel is forced to work as a debt collector for his mobster father even though he dreams of becoming a concert pianist. When he is drawn to a prostitute, the tension between his two worlds becomes unbearable. A disturbing and memorable debut from director and screenwriter James Toback.
Remade in 2005 as the French film ‘The Beat That My Heart Skipped.’
This early movie of actor Harvey Keitel is still rather unknown and was always overshadowed by the successful Keitel and de Niro movies like Scorsese’s “Mean Streets” and “Taxi Driver”. With Scorsese and di Niro being absent in this production, it was Keitel’s time for a leading part.
He plays the schizophrenic character “Fingers”, a brutal repo man who is dreaming of a classical piano player career in a distant future beyond violence. He falls in love with an ignorant woman, tries to convince his father and mentor of his musical talents, but also has to take any dirty job to survive. Finally he takes his famous “last job” and tries to get a large amount of money from a brutal Mafia youngster, but has to face his biggest enemy – and his last big showdown.
“Fingers” is a rather calm movie which leaves enough place for Keitel to show the different personalities of “Fingers”. There are dirty back roads, a bloody showdown and the tristesse of other sad New York stories, but not the glam and the roaring action of the Scorsese movies. And there are always evidences of hope and love which are finally crushed by the wheels of reality… Watch out for “Fingers”, one of Harvey Keitel’s best performances ever.
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