Facts and Figures
Run time: 90 mins
In Theaters: Wednesday 23rd August 1978
Distributed by: Brut Productions
Production compaines: Brut Productions
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Fresh: 9 Rotten: 1
IMDB: 7.0 / 10
Jimmy divides his day among busting caps, piano practice, and auditions for Carnegie Hall. The comparison to Taxi Driver is obvious, but these are far different films (and that said, Taxi Driver is a far better one, too).
What Fingers has going for it is a virtuoso performance by Keitel, who burns slow and extremely hot, letting his artistic frustration fuel the violence required in the other half of his life. But James Toback's script (the second one he ever wrote) doesn't give Keitel much to work with. Toback's direction (his first time behind a movie camera, ever) is surprisingly apt (and appropriately restrained), but - as we often see in Toback's movies, even today -- he gives his actors too much rope and not enough story. In Fingers that's not all bad, because Keitel is just a hair short of being a genius. But giving Robert Downey Jr. that kind of leeway (Two Girls and a Guy) proved disastrous.
Going into detail over Jimmy's poor life choices that play out over the few days which Fingers covers wouldn't do you much good -- the dim-witted hookers and the silly "big score" don't really do the movie justice. To see Fingers is to see Keitel perform as if he's doing dramatic improv. And that's absolutely fine as it is.
The long-awaited DVD features commentary from the wrong guy (Toback), though it does shed some light on how a film like this got made by a perfume company. As well, a five-minute conversation with Keitel and Toback is a little perplexing and largely uninspired.