Thursday, January 18, 2007


Watered-down Bukowski

By Edward Copeland
The works of the late author Charles Bukowski are certainly an acquired taste, but for a chronicler of a certain class of people low on the economic spectrum and high in blood alcohol level, Bukowski wrote many a great tale. Bent Hamer directed and co-wrote with Jim Stark a film adaptation of Bukowski's novel Factotum. Starring Matt Dillon as the Bukowski surrogate Henry Chinaski, Factotum disappoints.

The film moves at a snail's pace and for a story that presumably exists in the realm of society's underbelly, everyone seems particularly clean cut, and despite the conspicuous consumption of alcohol, no one ever appears inebriated.

Dillon has proved himself to be a fine actor and he gets support from the great Lili Taylor and, briefly, Marisa Tomei but Factotum doesn't seem to go anywhere.

It's as if they wanted to do Bukowski but had no grasp of what that entailed. Furthering hampering Factotum are the great memories of Barbet Schroeder's Barfly, 20 years old this year, with its great love it-or-hate it performance by Mickey Rourke and perhaps the last really good screen work by Faye Dunaway.

Barfly, with an original screenplay by Bukowski, captures many of the same elements as Factotum, but does so with realism, humor and pathos. Skip Factotum and seek out Barfly. You'll be glad you did.

Labels: , , ,

Comments: Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Follow edcopeland on Twitter

 Subscribe in a reader