Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 118


Audience Score

User Ratings: 19,660
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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. Consistently rejected by the only publishing house he respects but driven to continue by the knowledge that he could do better than the authors they continually publish, Chinaski soon begins sleeping with fellow barfly Jan (Lili Taylor), a kindred spirit he meets while drowning his sorrows at a local watering hole. When Hank eventually gets abandoned by the only woman with whom he is able to relate, a brief fling with gold-digging floozy Laura (Marisa Tomei) finds him once again falling into a morose state of perpetual drunkenness and unemployment. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Factotum

All Critics (118) | Top Critics (36)

  • 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.

    Dec 1, 2006 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Dec 1, 2006 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • This is one of the best movies of the year, and one of the two or three best performances.

    Sep 22, 2006 | Rating: 5/5
  • Factotum is right up there with Barfly as a distillation of Bukowskian badinage, despite the current film's sketchier provenance.

    Sep 20, 2006

    Andrew Sarris

    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.

    Sep 15, 2006 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • I just didn't think the comic touches were very subtle and very funny and the other stuff we've just seen before.

    Sep 5, 2006

Audience Reviews for Factotum

  • Mar 26, 2012
    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 B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 13, 2010
    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 C Super Reviewer
  • Jun 08, 2009
    <div style="width:310px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com/photos/factotum-12810196"><img src="http://content6.flixster.com/photo/12/81/01/12810196_ori.jpg" border="0"/></a><div style="text-align:center;font-size:10px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com"></a></div></div> <div style="width:310px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com/photos/factotum-12810192"><img src="http://content6.flixster.com/photo/12/81/01/12810192_ori.jpg" border="0"/></a><div style="text-align:center;font-size:10px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com"></a></div></div> <div style="width:310px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com/photos/factotum-12810163"><img src="http://content9.flixster.com/photo/12/81/01/12810163_ori.jpg" border="0"/></a><div style="text-align:center;font-size:10px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com"></a> </div></div> <div style="width:310px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com/photos/factotum-12810164"><img src="http://content6.flixster.com/photo/12/81/01/12810164_ori.jpg" border="0"/></a><div style="text-align:center;font-size:10px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com"></a><I>Factotum</I> </div></div> "A poem is a city filled with streets and sewers. Filled with saints, heroes, beggars, madmen. Filled with banality and booze. Filled with rain and thunder and periods of drought. A poem is a city at war. It's a barbershop filled with cynical drunks. A poem is a city. A poem is a nation. A poem is the world." <I>FACTOTUM</I> (2005) WRITTEN BY: Bent Hamer based on the novel by Charles Bukowski DIRECTED BY: Bent Hamer FEATURING: Matt Dillon and Lili Taylor GENRE: DRAMA, BIOGRAPHY PLOT: A gritty, tawdry semi- biographical account of writer Charles Bukowski's seedy wanderings and misadventures with pretty horses and fast women as he attempts to write something publishable. Matt Dillon, after many years, has finally become an interesting actor worthy of interesting roles. In <I>Factotum</I>, he portrays Hank Chinaski. Hank is a nonconformist. Hank is a dreamer. Hank is the kind of guy who would rather stare out a window at the city and think "What if?" than diligently work and chase ambitious conventional pursuits. Chinaski documents the maverick values and nonconforming lifestyle he pursued while he chipped away at becoming a writer. He had a bad habit of stabbing himself in the foot. Over and over again. Hank works a series odd menial jobs that won't interfere with his one real interest in life, writing, even though nobody is reading. Yet. He leaves work early to hustle at the racetrack. He drinks. He keeps company with questionable women. He gets fired from every job he takes. Chinaski is the kind of guy who can't get out of his own way. Yet somehow his methods were effective. He wrote the book that inspired the screenplay. Does that sound dreadful? It is not. <I>Factotum</I> is absorbing. <I>Factotum</I> is compelling. <I>Factotum</I> is recommended viewing for dreamers and nonconformists. Bukowski (1920-1994) wrote numerous short stories, several novels and the script for the movie <I>Barfly</I>. <div style="width:310px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com/photos/factotum-12810168"><img src="http://content6.flixster.com/photo/12/81/01/12810168_ori.jpg" border="0"/></a><div style="text-align:center;font-size:10px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com"></a></div></div> <div style="width:310px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com/photos/factotum-12810169"><img src="http://content7.flixster.com/photo/12/81/01/12810169_ori.jpg" border="0"/></a><div style="text-align:center;font-size:10px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com"></a> </div></div> <div style="width:310px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com/photos/factotum-12810190"><img src="http://content8.flixster.com/photo/12/81/01/12810190_ori.jpg" border="0"/></a><div style="text-align:center;font-size:10px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com"></a></div></div>
    Pamela D Super Reviewer
  • Nov 18, 2008
    I like Bukowski, but this had no point, it didn't flow or fit together. It was uninteresting, boring and dull. Dillon was okay.
    Marion R Super Reviewer

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