Barfly Review

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The barfly of the title is Henry (Rourke), who falls in love with another drunk, Wanda (Dunaway). The two of them wile their lives in LA's bars until a publisher (Krige) threatens to ruin their routine by publishing some of Henry's poetry.


Mickey Rourke is cast to type at his shambling, incoherent best as a punch-drunk, booze-soaked writer in Charles Bukowski’s autobiographical tale. Faye Dunaway is wonderful as a fellow down and out, but after the advent of Krige's ritzy publisher, who wants to whisk Mickey away from all this, it gets too stupid for words. Completely failing to pull a veil over the fact that this is a miniature biopic of Beat legend Bukowski, the film insists on it’s leading character’s drunkenness as some kind of positive, nostalgic warmth, when, in fact, they’re just a couple of incoherents.

Convincingly sozzled performances but, like Bukowski's poetry, there is little meaningful here to take away.