2006
Rated: R for graphic language, violence, and strong sexual content.
Genre: Comedy Drama
Directed By: Bent Hamer
Running Time: 1:29
Review by: Felix Vasquez Jr.
Review Date: 8/14/06
DVD Features:
Not Announced
FACTOTUM

 


Henry: Crabs, baby, you gave me crabs!

Have pity on me, I’ve never read Bukowski’s novel “Factotum”, so if you’re expecting me to wax poetic on the adaptation, and its loyalties to the material, and the sheer expectations of the movie, well then you’re shit out of luck. All I can do is judge the film, and judge Matt Dillon for his performance. But, hell, the movie makes me want to go out and buy “Factotum”. I really enjoyed this, because “Factotum” is like a hot bath. At first you go in easy, feel your surroundings, and eventually adapt to it.

Surely, many people won’t enjoy the grimy ugly nuance to it, but that’s what I utterly loved about it. “Factotum” is heavily reminiscent of films like “Five Easy Pieces”, except Henry doesn’t question his humanity, or his place in life. He just coasts from locale to locale, from person to person, from woman to woman just trying to do what he does without being disturbed. He wants to drink and he wants to write. And he wants to be left alone by overbearing superior who demand he does his job. Henry is a loser, a pure and utter loser, yet the audience will feel compelled to watch him slog around life doing nothing but live off wages and drinking himself sick.

If “Crash” wasn’t enough of an indicator, then “Factotum” will prove once and for all that Matt Dillon is an utterly excellent actor without ego. Matt as Henry is utterly disgusting and grotesque and most times you wonder why he even goes on. He drinks himself in a stupor, staggers around in a drunken haze and never looks clean. And Dillon doesn’t clean himself up. He looks worn out half the time, he has a constant beard, a glazed disposition, a red glow that could only come from excessive drinking and groans in place of a voice. Dillon’s performance as Henry, a manifestation of Charles Bukowski, is fantastic because it’s so underplayed.

Dillon relinquishes all of his “pretty boy” clean cut charm, and transforms into this numb man who goes from place to place seeking only enough money to get by. Much like Bukowski, our main character Henry is real in a world of artificial, he’s the lazy in a world of honest workers, and he just has the hope of being published; nothing else matters to him. If you’re disgusted by this world, unpleased by our character’s life, and his basic meaningless attitude or lack of charisma, then you’d be well to know that this is what Bukowski envisioned and it was his life. It’s everyone’s life. Its monotony and pain, it’s torment and poverty. “Factotum” is a wonderfully dry comedy.

Matt Dillon proves once again that in Hollywood, he's one underrated prospect, even with an Oscar nomination under his belt. If "Crash" didn't convince you of the man's utter talents for transforming, check out "Factotum". It's a shame Dillon doesn't explore transformations often, because his role in this utterly funny and down to Earth human drama is memorable. Of course, if you've read "Factotum" you know that already.

 

 

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