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Top Customer Reviews
He can't hold a job down because he's a drunk, but he believes he can't hold a job down because every job is shackling his spirit. He can't keep a relationship because he's not able to feel anything beyond his own mind, and that's such a fountain of strong emotion that he has to dampen it with booze.
This is not a happy movie. This is a movie about despair and the agony of addiction. There's no message of recovery or vindication or even escape as in Leaving Las Vegas - the simple message is that for some people life is just too much to handle. For that message it's a true story, unadulterated by the can-do propaganda of self-help America. This is the dark side of civilization, the story of one of those left behind.
Matt Dillon becomes Chinaski and he delivers a powerful performance, at times violent, angry, and hopeless, while at other times driven and manic. He sums up his life with the line, "All I want to do is get my check and get drunk. It might not be noble, but it's my choice."
The movie ends with these thoughts, and it's from that world that Bukowski rose to give us a look at ourselves.
"If you're going to try, go all the way. Otherwise don't even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives, jobs. And maybe your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery, isolation. Isolation is the gift.Read more ›
I looked forward to seeing Factotum for a long time, and I wasn't disappointed. The major character is Henry Chinaski, a character who figures in many Bukowski novels and stories and who is based loosly on Bukowski's own life. Matt Dillon gives a stunning performance of Chinaski, as does Lili Taylor, as Chinaski's on-again off-again girlfriend Jan.
Although the movie was shot in Minnesota, the scene of the movie is the poorer sections of Los Angeles during the years of WW II. Chinaski, a loner, outsider and drifter rejected for military service, is fired from one menial job after another as he works toward becoming a writer. Chinaski drinks heavily, gambles at the racetrack, fights, and moves from woman to woman. The low life of the movie is convincingly portrayed; yet Chinaski perseveres and ultimately succeeds in his goal of becoming a writer.
The movie differs from the novel in that the movie is set entirely in Los Angeles. In Bukowski's novel, Chinaski wanders back and forth around the United States. Thus, the novel begins in New Orleans, as Chinaski heads West to Los Angeles, and then backtracks through New York City, Philadelphia, and St. Louis before drifting back to Los Angeles. The book is thus substantially more episodic and less focused that the film adaptation. In addition, the film portrays Chinaski somewhat more sympathetically than does Bukowski's own text.Read more ›
First and foremost, IFC Films should be pushing for his nomination. The reviews are terrific, by and large; and it should be opened nationwide, not just in art house theaters. This is a "sleeper" gem of a film. Along with an Oscar nod for Dillon might come one for Lili Taylor because she is terrific too. Clearly, "Factotum" is an Indie film that has come out of nowhere, ground zero in fact, and might be marked for "stardom" if IFC puts some "muscle" behind the film in terms of marketing and promoting it.
In turn, its success might propel lots of independent filmmakers to "believe" that they too might "reach for the stars" and actually catch the brass ring. Dillon is a real talent, and so is Taylor. Marisa Tomei has a small but meaty part, and she handles it with aplomb as she always does. For those of us who fell in love with her years ago, when she won an Oscar as best supporting actress in "My Cousin Vinny," she shines in this movie too.
Even though Dillon's character, "Henry Chinaski," is an alcoholic and a womanizer who seems to fail miserably at all of his jobs, the one thread that keeps him alive and moving forward is his writing, which is ultimately his redemption--as it was for writer Charles Bukowski, on whose book the film was based. The only minor criticism of the movie might be that it needs some music in various scenes, and the end credits need to be redone to achieve greater clarity because they are impossible to read in a theater.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Faulty Dvd. Found out after return expired. No way to address.Published 16 days ago by Amazon Customer
Pretty good version of Barfly! This version seemed a little tamer than the original but still very good!Published 1 month ago by T.O.M
Good beginning, good ending. You feel bad for the guy for a while but it went on for to long. The guy made me want to have a drink myself. Read morePublished 7 months ago by john pastore
Watch "Bar Fly"...it is also about the autor... with a different swingPublished 8 months ago by Andi
oh yes! I love seeing my life come to the screen. Barfly was a better approximation of me... but as a train wreck drunk physician explorer whore monger... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Rodent666
Bukowski is a favorite and Matt Dillon is becoming one, too, and they come together very well in this film.Published 9 months ago by Loursat