Friday, March 19, 2010


It opens with two sight gags so obvious that it may have come from a Three Stooges short. It ends with the story's hero Hank Chanaski getting fired. Then, as the opening credits begin to run the films title is shown with a definition that states that factotum means a man who goes from job to job. That is exactly the trajectory the film takes as we watch Chanaski go from job to job, as well as bar to bar and woman to woman all the time whilst he pursues his real profession which is writing. The film is based on the novel by the late Charles Bukowski, who was supposed to be a mirror of Chanaski, and by the way he is played here by Matt Dillon he must of been a gruff son-of-a-bitch. Though Chanaski is an utterly unlikable individual, there are certain aspects of him that are completely identifiable. I liked the way this film played out during stretches of it, where it plays like a quiet, well-observed indie. Yet, there are other sections that just don't work or seem strange. There is also another film based on a Bukowski novel, this time starring Mickey Rourke as Chanaski called Barfly, and I'd be interested how that film handles the character. Here Dillon does his best playing a difficult role, but I'd say the results are mixed.