Pulp understands its source, classic noir, as it takes satirical jabs at the conventions of the genre. On this level, you understand the film, but the plot is so poorly-communicated and loose that one has to fight the film to see any joy in it, instead of going with it. A shame, because the heart is in the right place.
Even Michael Caine's unique take on leading man suave can't save this dull, lifeless comic mystery. Almost never funny or suspenseful - even though it tries desperately to be both. The characters and gags are forced and annoying. Director Mike Hodges' loose, unfocused style just doesn't mesh with a story that's trying to be sharp. A major disappointment.