Here at We Make Movies On Weekends, we love Edgar Wright. The passionate Wright, as I mentioned before, kicked off his directorial and writing career very early producing spoof like short films such as the super hero themed Carbolic Soap and Dead Right, a cop thriller inspired short. Keeping with the spoof theme, A Fistful of Fingers comes after Wright graduated from Bournemouth Arts College. Based on a previous short film that caught local attention, Wright was able to raise enough funds for producing the movie. At just the tender age of 20 and with a budget of £15,000, A Fistful of Fingers is surprisingly good for a first feature attempt and the bunch of young’uns excel at bringing some Blazing Saddles genre humour to their film.
A Fistful of Fingers is “the greatest Western ever made…in Somerset” and the main gist of the joke is that the fields of English double up as New Mexico. Our Clint Eastwood hero is fast shooter No Name who is on a bounty hunting for the moustached villain The Squint. Along with his extremely non PC Indian friend Rushing Sore, they travel the heated depths of the deserts (Dales) in order the fight this arch-nemesis and earn his reward.
A Fistful of Fingers, despite being a first feature and despite Wright being disappointed with the end product, is surprisingly a funny hit. It is a spoof so the jokes come very thick and very fast, and nearly every second is filled with fun. Whether or not that is a good thing is debatable but the level of comedy here reaches the heights of spoofs such as Airplane. It is all rather silly. Most of the time, luckily, they hit the right spot and make you laugh. It is all very “Monty Python-esque” that if you, like me, enjoy rather silly movies than you’d be laughing a lot. Think styrofoam horses, breaking the fourth wall, and slapstick humour then you are heading in the right direction.
I do have to address the biggest issue with the film. There is a character here which is essentially a white man playing a native American. His brown painted skin is offensive. Whether it is a mockery of classic films who would do the same or simply because they could see no other way of doing it (as nineties students,) it needs to be addressed as a misjudged, misstepped, and mismanaged addition to the film.
Though at times, it does lose itself in its humour as many student works do, it is actually a pretty decent debut for Edgar Wright. It has glimmers of the wickedly smart work Wright would later go on to do and is shot magnificently well on such a minuscule budget. A Fistful of Fingers is a movie for fun and giggles and while it is no great art or comedy, it certainly did its job by gaining Wright attention to set him off on his glorious career.