Fingers cuts to the core. Harvey Keitel embodies Jimmy Angelelli–would be concert pianist, collector for his gangster father, Ben and frustrated romantic. Jimmy is enticed by Carol who in turn is enthralled by Dreems–an African-American playboy, gangster and master manipulator. Threats to his father’s life drive Jimmy to ultimate acts even as his splintered self plays out his musical and erotic needs. –Cannes Film Festival
A stockbroker’s son, James Toback holds degrees from both Harvard and Columbia. While an English instructor at CCNY, Toback began submitting articles to various publications, with special emphasis on sports magazines. Assigned to interview football star-turned-actor Jim Brown, Toback became close friends with his subject, spending several years as Brown’s houseguest. Their relationship was crystallized into Toback’s 1971 book Jim: The Author’s Self-Centered Memoir of the Great Jim Brown. This work brought Toback to the attention of Hollywood producers, culminating in his first screenplay credit for 1974’s The Gambler. In 1977, Toback turned director with Fingers, a succes d’estime starring-who else?—Jim Brown. Critical opinion was sharply divided over Toback’s directorial bow: Pauline Kael was underwhelmed by the film, citing “self-promotion” as Toback’s biggest talent, while David Thomson was so bowled over by Fingers that he wrote a essay-length… read more
To paraphrase and apply what Robin Wood said about Marnie - if you prefer The Beat That My Heart Skipped to Fingers, you just plain don't like cinema. A testament to how miracles ultimately become pitfalls, Toback formed such a perfect ivory tower here to indulge all of his obsessions that he rendered himself only capable of creating films thereafter to suffer a steep decline into being uneven and uninteresting.