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Factotum Review

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Unpublished but undeterred, writer Henry ‘Hank’ Chinaski (Dillon) poetically and prolifically chronicles the low life while lurching through a succession of dead-end jobs to meet his minimal requirements: getting drunk, getting it on with wild women and g

★★★★

There is an appreciative cult for the late Charles Bukowski — screenwriter of Barfly, author and poet — whose autobiographical writings are the basis of this surprisingly funny and endearing squalid-sweet portrait of the artist’s crazy, messy life.

A factotum is someone who performs all sorts of jobs, and it aptly describes Hank who gets, and loses, many, many jobs.

Matt Dillon brings disarming humour and bravado to the role of the theoretically down and pitiable figure Chinaski. He can’t hold a job for more than a day, but he holds our attention with his profane, irrepressible and idiosyncratic life wisdom. This is a man who really believes “some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead…” and sabotages any order or sanity in his.

His pithily summarised encounters with eccentrics, losers, boozers and slovenly soulmates underline his need to be Van Gogh with a typewriter. A character who would be treated as an unlovable or tragic figure almost anywhere else emerges here as a hero of self-expression.

Director Hamer’s take on Bukowski has a hip, latter day 'Beat' sensibility. You want to run out and read the books.