Fingers (1978) James Toback

“Fingers” can be seen as a portrait of the artist as a small time enforcer. Jimmy Angellini (Harvey Keitel),  the quirky anti-hero of James Toback’s film directing debut is living a dual life, one of a sensitive artist, an aspiring pianist on the verge of an audition with a major impresario at Carnegie Hall. The other life is that of a street wise hood who acts as an enforcer for his father (Michael V. Gazzo), a small time loan shark. Jimmy however, doesn’t fit into either world, he has no friends and his only constant companion is a portable cassette tape player on which he is always playing the same songs, fifties rock and roll classics like “Summertime, Summertime” by The Jamies, “even when it’s fuckin’ 15 degrees outside,” as his father tells him.  His musical taste, like his life, is splintered between classical music and rock and roll.  Jimmy’s parents continue the duality theme in his life, his father, the low level hood while his late mother was a former musician, neither of who seemed to have bestowed much love on their son. Old Dad, at one point even wishes he had strangled Jimmy when he was a kid still in his crib. Mom was always resentful of his musical talent. Continue reading