`Factotum' is a bleak portrait of boozy Bukowski

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September 08, 2006|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,Sun Movie Critic

The American writer and poet Charles Bukowski is certainly an acquired taste, and Factotum may be just the film for determining whether one wants to acquire it.

Based largely on Bukowski's autobiographical 1975 novel, the movie stars Matt Dillon as Bukowski's stand-in, Henry Chinaski. Factotum doesn't let us in on much of Chinaski's background, but his present is plenty bleak enough to help us fill in the blanks. A cynical, iconoclastic drifter whose only ambition is to write, Chinaski wafts from menial job to menial job, rarely keeping them for more than a few days (mostly because he spends more time at the nearest bar than on the job), earning barely enough money to buy his next drink. It's not much of an existence, being a determinedly aimless drunk, but it seems to be what he wants.

Factotum (IFC Films) Starring Matt Dillon, Lili Taylor, Marisa Tomei. Written and directed by Bent Hamer. Rated R. Time 90 minutes.

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