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Ginley (Albert Finney) is a nightclub bingo caller eager for a career change. On his thirty-first birthday, he advertises himself as a private eye in the newspaper. He dons a trench coat, and begins engaging others in rapid-fire dialogue as if he were Humphrey Bogart, or some Dashiell Hammett creation. Soon after, Ginley is phoned by a fat man, who gives him a package containing a gun, a photograph, and a large sum of money. Eventually Ginley is investigating a case involving smuggling of weapons as well as drugs. Ginley also finds himself at odds with his unsupportive brother, who offers Ginley payment to break off his investigations. Eventually Ginley learns of his brother-in-law's involvement in the crimes at hand. Ginley faces a series of daunting tasks: solving the crimes, bringing justice to the smugglers (and a murderer), as well as maintaining his safety and sanity in the process. Written by
This film buzzes with excitement and whips along at a great pace. It's cliché precisely because Eddie Ginley sees everything that way. That's the charm.
The script works well, and is a delight if you concentrate (!) All the actors give deeply - the sparring between Finlay and Finney is marvellous. How they kept straight faces is a mystery - they seem to be enjoying it so much.
All the locations are raw and stark but never over-done or contrived. What you see is what there was in 1970's Liverpool and London.
A thoroughly enjoyable film with a top-class cast.
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