Directed by Norwegian filmmaker, Brent Hamer (also known for Kitchen Stories), Factotum was shot in Minnesota but produced and first released in Norway. It was distributed in the US by IFC Films in 2006. The film features an original score by Norwegian singer and songwriter Kristin Asbjornson that includes three of Bukowski’s poems translated to music.
The composition of the film is kindred to the works of Jim Jarmusch, apropos producer Jim Stark, one of Jarmusch’s collaborators. The story, based on Charles Bukowski’s 1975 novel of the same name and excerpts from his other works, follows his alter ego, Henry (Hank) Chinaski (Matt Dillon), as he wanders from menial job to job, his only passions being women, drinking and writing.
Despite the disturbance this edgy creature was famous for imposing, the film does nothing to indicate what the creation of another Bukowski flick can do for film and its audience at this point in time (despite the potential), besides entertain. Indeed the film captures Bukowski’s lugubrious spirit. For example, there is an unforgettable scene in which Jan (Lili Taylor), Hank’s girlfriend, wraps gauze around his manhood after a nasty case of the crabs. The film delivers, but it doesn’t go all the way.
- Story B
- Acting B+
- Visuals B+
- Originality/Innovation B-
- Enjoyability B+
- Overall B