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Factotum (2006)


Average Rating: 6.8/10
Reviews Counted: 116
Fresh: 88
Rotten: 28

Critics Consensus: Matt Dillon's performance is the highlight of this somewhat slow but fascinating portrayal of Charles Bukowski's alter-ego.

Average Rating: 6.7/10
Reviews Counted: 34
Fresh: 22
Rotten: 12

Critics Consensus: Matt Dillon's performance is the highlight of this somewhat slow but fascinating portrayal of Charles Bukowski's alter-ego.


Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 19,514


Movie Info

Norwegian director Bent Hamer follows up his quirky and critically acclaimed Kitchen Stories with a heartbreakingly humorous look at the life of depressive writer Hank Chinaski -- the fictional counterpart of real-life author Charles Bukowski. Adapted from Bukowski's 1975 novel of the same name, Hamer's film follows the perpetually unemployed, alcohol-swilling Chinaski (Matt Dillon) as he drifts through the city streets in search of a job that won't come between him and his first love, writing. … More

R (for language and sexual content)
Drama , Art House & International , Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
Charles Bukowski , Bent Hamer , Jim Stark
In Theaters:
Dec 26, 2006
Box Office:
IFC Films - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Factotum

All Critics (118) | Top Critics (34) | Fresh (88) | Rotten (28) | DVD (11)

The transplant didn't take in Barfly, and it works no better here in Factotum. In each case, the baying of the boozehounds just seems repetitious and banal -- the noise endures but the joy is gone.

Full Review… | December 1, 2006
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Quite dull, truth be told. As good as Dillon and Taylor are in their roles, making us side with them even as we despise them, there's not a whole lot that happens in a life ruled by the bottle, the butt and the shag.

Full Review… | December 1, 2006
Toronto Star
Top Critic

This is one of the best movies of the year, and one of the two or three best performances.

Full Review… | September 22, 2006
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

Factotum is right up there with Barfly as a distillation of Bukowskian badinage, despite the current film's sketchier provenance.

Full Review… | September 20, 2006
New York Observer
Top Critic

Dillon is better now that he's settled into sturdy middle age. He makes more sense; I never got him as a Tiger Beat centerfold.

Full Review… | September 15, 2006
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

I just didn't think the comic touches were very subtle and very funny and the other stuff we've just seen before.

Full Review… | September 5, 2006
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

The fact that Chinaski can be ably transplanted from the '40s to the early 21st century, and from LA to MN, speaks to his endurance as American literature's preeminent antihero, and Dillon seems to have a firm grip on this notion.

Full Review… | March 24, 2014
Stop Smiling

A slouching portrait of Bukowski that's likeable, if superficial.

Full Review… | November 7, 2012
Empire Magazine Australasia

Factotum is an existentialist indie film about the loneliness of the human condition, which is normally the cinematic equivalent of having a hole drilled in your head.

Full Review… | March 22, 2011

An understated and atmospheric portrait of the artist as a young booze-hound built around a quiet but magnetic performance by Matt Dillon.

Full Review… | August 20, 2010

Minimalism-a-thon, numb from the very start

Full Review… | August 30, 2009

Dillon is an utterly excellent actor without ego.

Full Review… | April 29, 2009
Cinema Crazed

The entire production hangs on Dillon, but he's up to the task, serving up Hank's heart with bottom-of-the-barrel bravado.

Full Review… | April 23, 2009
Boston Phoenix

Norwegian director Bent Hamer ("Kitchen Stories") mines the rich literary soil of poet/novelist Charles Bukowski to issue forth a piquant cinematic showcase for Bukowski's talent and malaise.

Full Review… | April 20, 2009

Wryly funny and understated and surprisingly easy to watch.

Full Review… | August 7, 2008
Sacramento News & Review

Will not please devotees of narrative closure, but it's a must for anyone who lives by our hero's credo: 'If you're going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don't try at all.'

Full Review… | February 1, 2008

Unfortunately -- like its lead character -- the film doesn't do much more than drift from one scene to another.

Full Review… | July 14, 2007
Big Picture Big Sound

This portrait of an artist as a young sot reels and swaggers towards some kind of redemptive conclusion but, in a truly bold move on the part of the filmmakers, never quite gets there.

Full Review… | July 6, 2007
Eye for Film

The film unfolds at a leisurely pace and takes the form of a series of incidents and anecdotes, which works surprisingly well.

Full Review… | June 21, 2007

Factotum isn't for everybody, certainly not the abstentious. But there's no denying it, Chinaski appeals to our inner anarchist.

Full Review… | February 22, 2007
Film Journal International

Dillon delivers with a cocky denseness that is at once hilarious and poignant...

Full Review… | January 12, 2007
Flick Filosopher

Bleak-ish, inebriated and quite exhilarating in the full-on Bukowski fashion.

Full Review… | December 1, 2006
Jam! Movies

It's not a great film but it might seem great because it does justice to the life force of an exceptional man who had something to say about not being mediocre.

Full Review… | November 4, 2006
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

At its best when it taps into the allure of indolence: The almost scandalous feeling of freedom that comes from sitting on a barstool in midafternoon, without a job, a schedule or responsibilities.

October 6, 2006
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Audience Reviews for Factotum

I miss the whole point of this movie, and rather then watch it a second time, I rather have pins stuck in my eyeballs, The best part of the movie was the line about the wine nats on the unemployment office. Could Matt Dilon fall any lower. 1 star

Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

Deadbeat wannabe writer Henry Chinaski drifts from dead end job to dead end job while trying to hone his craft and find his next drink. Based on a hotch-potch of the works of cult literary figure Charles Bukowski, Factotum is a fair cinematic representation of his work; you get a few chuckles over his reckless abandon in the face of polite society and imagine how liberating it would be to be able to just not give a shit. But at the end of the day, most people who don't give a shit aren't charming, charismatic rebels; they're just assholes. For this reason, Factotum seemed to me to be just a collection of scenes of an asshole getting drunk and losing jobs, and that's it. I didn't warm to him, he didn't show me any insights into the modern world. He was just a self-involved, self-important bore who occasionally quoted Bukowski to justify his own sorry existence, which pretty much sums up this film. If it's comedy drunks you want, Withnail & I, Fear And Loathing, Leaving Las Vegas and Trees Lounge are all far, far better than this self indulgent cinewank.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

At no point should you mistake this movie for being good. It is, in fact, a bad movie. It has a ton of inconsistencies and you rarely see 'Chinaski' honing his writing craft. That said, it has a few amusing moments, some decent acting, and it features a topless Marissa Tomei, which allows it to reclaim an additional star.

Ping Chu

Super Reviewer


Definitely one for the fans of Bukowski, that said, it?s not really how I pictured Henry Chinaski and I started to worry towards the beginning of the film but by the end I was more than satisfied. Bent Hamer (great name) does a great job as does Dillon, both obviously love and understand Bukowski's work. Read the books and watch this film!

Anthony Lawrie

Super Reviewer

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