© 2006 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.
2006 TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL
FIVE FINGERS

Lionsgate was the studio behind last year's Best Picture winner,
CRASH. In 2006, the studio enjoyed a hit with the gruesome suspense
thriller
HOSTEL. Although it was also represented by the family friendly
AKEELAH AND THE BEE at Tribeca, the studio had a second film
that was closer to its horror hit --
FIVE FINGERS.

   The film, co-written by Chad Thumann and Laurence Malkin, and
directed by Malkin, centers on Dutch banker and part-time jazz pianist
Martijn (Ryan Phillippe) who has decided to visit Morocco to set up a
"food program," in part to please his girlfriend Saadia (Touriya Haoud).
He has hired an English bodyguard (Colm Meany) to accompany him
on the journey.

   Once in Morocco, the pair are attacked on a bus and drugged.
When they awake, they are tied up and being held hostage by Ahmet
(Laurence Fishburne, who also served as one of the film's producers).
Martijn soon finds out that Ahmet means business when the bodyguard
is shot. Ahmet and Martijn then engage in a circuitous discourse over
a mysterious man, a million dollars, and the true purpose of the
Dutchman's visit. When Martijn protests his innocence, Ahmet tortures
him by slicing off his pinky. There are continued threats that Martijn will
lose more digits unless he cooperates.

   The film is difficult to watch and makes the scenes of torture in
SYRIANA look like child's play. Fishburne and Phillippe are well
matched as their characters engage in a cat and mouse exchange,
but after a while, the script devolves into triteness. Even the introduction
of a female (Gina Torres, who is married to Fishburne) as an associate
of Ahmet's doesn't change the dynamic much.

   With its uninspired dialogue and confusing denouement --
which relies on a last-minute out of character change of heart --
FIVE FINGERS isn't as clever or as entertaining as it would like
to be.


                           Rating:                C -