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Factotum
Factotum
Actors: Matt Dillon, Lili Taylor, Marisa Tomei, Didier Flamand, Fisher Stevens
Director: Bent Hamer
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
R     2006     1hr 34min

(Drama) Henry Chinaski (Dillon) considers himself a writer, and on occasion writes. Mostly he quests for the booze and women that sidetrack and seduce, rather than inspire greatness. When he falls for Jan (Lili Taylor), ...  more »

     

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Movie Details

Actors: Matt Dillon, Lili Taylor, Marisa Tomei, Didier Flamand, Fisher Stevens
Director: Bent Hamer
Creators: Bent Hamer, Christine K. Walker, Jim Stark, Karl Baumgartner, Charles Bukowski
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Romantic Comedies, Love & Romance
Studio: Ifc
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 12/26/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/2006
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 34min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish

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Member Movie Reviews

James B. (wandersoul73) from TYLER, TX
Reviewed on 6/14/2009...
Matt Dillon really brings this one to life. It's got a great Charles Bukowski feel.
1 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Sometimes You Have To Sacrifice Everything
CV Rick | Minneapolis, MN, USA | 02/11/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Matt Dillon is Henry Chinaski, the alter-ego of Charles Bukowski. This is a movie about a man who finds solace in a bottle and outlet in the written word. He struggles to be a writer, knowing that his perceptions on society are unique and valuable, but at the same time believing everything to be pointless.

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. All the others are a test of your endurance. Of how much you really want to do it. And you'll do it, despite rejection in the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you're going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods. And the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It's the only good fight there is. "

It's not a movie for everyone, but I watched it three times. Dillon couldn't have done a better job, but I'm afraid it's not the right material for an Oscar nod."
Matt Dillon deserves an Oscar
Timothy D. Naegele | Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles | 09/15/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"So many people said after this year's Academy Awards that Matt Dillon should have won an Oscar as best supporting actor for his performance in "Crash." Perhaps so, but he deserves an Oscar even more as best actor for "Factotum," without a doubt. It is an offbeat movie that is not for the kids, but the camera captures the best acting that Dillon has ever done. Even with a beard and somewhat of a paunch, he radiates star power more so than in his other films.

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."
Factotum -- The Movie
Robin Friedman | Washington, D.C. United States | 09/01/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Factotum is based upon the 1975 novel by the American writer Charles Bukowski (1920 - 1994). The movie was shot in Minnesota in 2004 and premiered at several independent film festivals before its commercial release. The best-known earlier movie based upon Bukowski's work was Barfly (1987) which stared Mickey Rourke.

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. For example in one scene, after Chinaski and Jan have walked some distance to pick up a check when Chinaski is fired from a job, Jan complains that she can't walk further and takes of her high heels. In the movie, Chinaski gallantly offers her his own shoes. This offer doesn't happen in the novel. The Minnesota scene of the movie doesn't quite look like Los Angeles, but it does capture the seedy, squalid character of Chinaski's surroundings.

In watching the movie, my companion commented on the lurid quality of the lighting, particularly as it involved the bar scenes. Another unusual feature of the movie is the outstanding musical score, which sets several of Bukoski's poems.

This is a tough, gritty movie of an individual who is seemingly headed for a life of alcoholism and failure. Chinaski somehow redeems himself as he works towards becoming a writer. I think the book and the movie both illustrate a traditional theme. They show how art and reflection have the power to find beauty in even the most sordid scenes and to bring meaning to a life in the midst of waste and sorrow.

Robin Friedman"