+ high-res version

Watched: 18 December

A bleak, gripping early-70s crime thriller that has enjoyed cult status for a number of years, though it does appear to be finding a wider audience at long last due to recent US and UK DVD/Blu-Ray releases by Eureka and Criterion; if you are a fan of the American New Wave generally then it’s well worth seeking out. Robert Mitchum delivers one of the best performances of his career as Eddie ‘Fingers’ Coyle, a Boston delivery driver and low-level gangster who supplies guns to those higher up the food chain, principally a trio of bank robbers he has been working with for years. Events that have transpired prior to the start of the story mean that Eddie has turned informer to the ATF in order to receive a reduced jail term, and some of the tension here comes from his playing of both sides, though it seems inevitable throughout the film that it will all catch up with him eventually. This is augmented by some superbly orchestrated and nail-biting robbery and gun-dealing sequences, each of which is masterfully handled by director Peter Yates, who is perhaps best known for Bullitt and the late-1970s coming-of-age comedy Breaking Away – though for my money this is his best film. There’s an excellent supporting performance by Peter Boyle, too, and a fine jazz-funk score by Dave Grusin. Should be seen by more people. (****½)



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  1. February 7, 2018

    Really good one! I’ve been wanting to revisit it for a while now.

    • Stu #
      February 13, 2018

      I agree, a cracking film and I’ll definitely watch it again in the future.

  2. February 11, 2018

    I saw this one for the first time just last year, and was very impressed with it. I liked seeing Mitchum back in a crime film, and thought he did a great job, and not once thought of him as an ‘old guy’ whose glory years were behind him. Good stuff, Stu!

    • Stu #
      February 13, 2018

      He’s fantastic here; and it’s such a tragic figure that he plays, too.

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