Albert Finney is a would-be comedian and general smartass, places an ad in the paper announcing himself as a private eye and immediately gets in over his head. It’s a good premise, because at no point is Finney an actual detective – when he finds a gun at a crime scene, he keeps playing with it and shows it off to everyone he sees.

Albert:

Finney’s brother William (Frank Finlay, one of Lester’s Musketeers) is the type of serious businessman who also knows how to dispose of a dead body, and the brother’s girl who used to be Finney’s girl is his Charlie Bubbles costar Billie Whitelaw. Clues lead to an occult bookstore lead to a heroin trade. There’s a hot library girl, some racism, and some unusually good dialogue.

Billie:

I’ve already done enough damage with this one, so I’ll be brief.

Golly-gee Omar used to date his punker racist friend Johnny (Daniel-Day Lewis in his first good role?), sees him again in a dark scary tunnel and they get back together. Help run O’s uncle’s laundromat, paying for renovations by stealing from uncle’s actual business, drug-running. Omar’s father is spaced-out-and-dreamy sick old man Roshan Seth (Monsoon Wedding, Temple of Doom) and uncle is Saeed Jaffrey (man who would be king). Omar gets on power trip, has some “reverse” racist moments with Daniel-Day, and flirts with a female cousin.

Something seems off throughout – nobody is quite behaving normally, and the camera work is slightly absurd (clean, shining, colorful images), and there are soap bubble sound effects on the soundtrack. I didn’t know what to make of it all.

Writer Hanif Kureishi was also the source of Patrice Chéreau’s Intimacy.