- 1 hr 34 min
Factotum is a 2005 independent movie directed by Bent Hamer based on the book of the same name by Charles Bukowski. The movie follows the story of Henry Chinaski (Matt Dillon), a struggling writer who spends his days drifting from job to job and bar to bar with his fellow bohemian friend Manny (Fisher Stevens), while chasing women and drinking heavily.
Henry Chinaski is a man of many talents, but unfortunately his talents don't include holding down a steady job or keeping a healthy relationship with a woman. He is a true bohemian, who values his freedom above anything else. He is an oddball character who is hard to take seriously, but as the movie progresses we get to know him and feel his pain. Henry's world is a never-ending cycle of alcohol, dead-end jobs, and failed relationships.
As the movie begins, we see Henry working at a sheet metal factory, a job he hates. He quits and goes on the hunt for another job, but with little success. Henry applies for a job as a taxi driver, but his driving skills are less than desirable, so he is fired on his first day. He then tries his hand at being a door-to-door salesman, but his unorthodox methods get him fired from that job too.
Throughout the movie, we see Henry struggling to make ends meet while trying to write his way out of poverty. He finds solace in drinking and writing, but these two things don't mix well, and he often ends up destroying his own work in a drunken stupor.
Henry's luck starts to change when he meets Jan (Lili Taylor), a fellow alcoholic who quickly becomes his girlfriend. Jan is also a writer and encourages Henry to pursue his writing more seriously. She believes in him and sees the potential for greatness in his work.
Despite his new muse, Henry still struggles to make a living and gain recognition for his writing. He takes on odd jobs such as working as a stock boy at a grocery store and a parking lot attendant, but always ends up getting fired.
One of the most memorable scenes in the movie takes place during Henry's time working as a bartender. A regular at the bar asks Henry why he works such hard jobs, and Henry responds with a monologue about the absurdity of life and the need to keep pushing forward despite the many setbacks he has experienced.
Marisa Tomei plays Laura, an older woman who Henry meets when he's working as a cook at a diner. Laura represents stability, something that Henry lacks in his life. She offers him a job, a place to stay, and a semblance of normality. Yet, despite her kindness, Henry can't resist his bohemian tendencies, and he eventually leaves her.
Factotum is a movie that explores the life of a struggling writer who is trying to find his place in the world. It's an honest and raw portrayal of the life of the artist, where self-doubt, poverty and a penchant for self-destruction often coexist.
Matt Dillon gives an outstanding performance as Henry Chinaski, capturing the essence of the character's tortured soul. Lili Taylor is equally impressive as Jan, the woman who sees the potential in Henry's work. Marisa Tomei is also great as Laura, the one steady force in Henry's otherwise chaotic life.
Bent Hamer's direction is excellent, capturing the gritty nature of Bukowski's writing and showcasing the city of Los Angeles in all its seedy glory. The cinematography by John Christian Rosenlund is also noteworthy, with the camera lingering on the characters' faces, capturing the pain and frustration that they feel.
Overall, Factotum is a movie that will resonate with anyone who has ever struggled to make ends meet while pursuing their dreams. It's a movie that celebrates the bohemian lifestyle while also showing its pitfalls. It's a movie that tells us that no matter how hard life gets, it's always worth pursuing our passions.
Factotum is a 2005 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 34 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.6 and a MetaScore of 71.