The 1978 film Fingers from James Toback is here reworked as a stylish French thriller with Romain Duris taking over the Harvey Keitel role. Thomas (Duris) has taken the reigns of his fathers real-estate speculation business, although his father still wants to keep his hand in. He’s unwilling to cede everything to his son, and uses guilt to wheedle him into cooperating in his few remaining scams. But Tom has another side, inherited from his deceased mother who was a classical pianist. A chance meeting on the streets of Paris gets Tom to thinking about playing again. His mother’s former manager tells Tom to call him and audition. To do so, Tom begins taking lessons from a Chinese immigrant who speaks no English. The scenes as Tom struggles to please his new teacher, and she to communicate exactly what she needs him to do are some of the best in the film.
Just when he’s ready to audition, an old bad association of his father’s, a Russian mobster, pulls him back from his dreams and to the brink of disaster. It’s all an interesting study of influences: will his mother’s influence win out in the end, or will his father’s? The answer to this question, and how it plays out makes for a fairly riveting tale. Duris is terrific in this one as is Niels Astrup who plays the father as a somewhat pathetic gangster whose world has passed him by. Astrup was most recently seen by me in A Prophet where he also dazzled as a violent, sinister and manipulative prison leader.
A fine script, cracker-jack directing, fine acting and a sad, satisfying ending make for a very enjoyable viewing.