Factotum

Directed by Bent Hamer

> > Apr 2007

Factotum - Directed by Bent Hamer
By Scott A. GrayFactotum is the film adaptation of one of Charles Bukowski’s most celebrated novels, following the story of aspiring writing and dedicated drunk Hank Chinaski (a fully absorbed Matt Dillon) as he guzzles his way through life and out of menial jobs, winding up in the stupefying comfort of a bar every time a measure of responsibility enters his life. And it’s from this rickety throne of the bums and derelicts that Hank (who it’s been suggested draws heavy parallels to Bukowski) commits his wisdom to page, in crass, uncouth and brutally honest revelations on the base needs and desires of the human animal. It’s also here that Hank meets Jan (Lili Taylor), seemingly the only woman he can stand having a lasting relationship with. The wedge that drives the desperate lovers apart (money equals not enough time for fucking; too much fucking equals not enough time for writing) serves to illustrate an important point on the balance between love, art and success, but the sub-story it sets up with Laura (Marisa Tomei) — an excursion into rich living at the expense of an elderly pervert playing philanthropist — is random and the film’s only major lag point, existing primarily as a means of separating then reuniting Hank and Jan. And it is this relationship that links us to the wheezing, booze-drenched heart of Factotum, which is that of a writer with an irrepressible need simply to write. This telling of Factotum is a success of the low-key, warty kind it needed to be to authentically capture Bukowski’s hilariously raw and honest worldview. Being the story of an author of "words not as precious things but as necessary things” it’s no surprise that it’s Dillon’s effectively detached narration of Bukowski’s world-weary, poetic, everyman musings that display the staggering human importance of a drunken confessional.

In terms of extras, "The Soundtrack Promotion” features a montage to the music of the appropriately smoke- and wine-soaked voiced Norwegian Kirsten Asbjornsen. Also, a "making of Factotum” feature turns out to be a career retrospective for director Bent Hamer, including slightly extended coverage during the making of Factotum.
(Alliance Atlantis)
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