Customer Review

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A more than passable book-to-film adaptation, 11 May 2006
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This review is from: Factotum [DVD] (DVD)
I am a huge, huge fan of Charles Bukowski's work, and Factotum being an adaptation of his novel of the same name (with one or two passages from his other books carefully worked in) I really wanted to like this. And, despite the fact that in some instances, it seems, images still cannot replace the power of words, I enjoyed this film immensely.

Henry Chinaski lives to do just three things: drink, screw, and write - and for him, life is just one long, hard slog to stick to that set of ideals. This film succeeds in capturing this, primarily through the use of monologues, which consist of passages of poetry and prose lifted from Bukowski's books. However, and despite being rather more aesthetically pleasing than one imagines Chinaski to be, Matt Dillon does an admirable job in re-creating one of the most "difficult" characters in modern literature, and Lily Taylor matches him, drink-for-drink, as his on-off lover, Jan. In their portrayal of a doomed relationship, and in amongst all the drinking, infidelity, and conflict, the pair nevertheless succeed in capturing the rare moments of tenderness for which Bukowski's writing is often revered.

I would have to disagree with the previous reviewer's comments in saying that this film is "flat" and "uninteresting". On the contrary: I found it entertaining in a rather gentle and poignant way. Bukowski's novels are not roller-coaster rides of non-stop action - in fact, nothing much happens in them at all - and neither is this film. It is, however, funny, sad, and inspirational - especially if you've ever wanted to be a writer!
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