FACTOTUM Add To My Top 10

The Artist as an Iconoclastic Drunk

Content -3
Quality
None Light Moderate Heavy
Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Release Date: August 18, 2006

Starring: Matt Damon, Lili Taylor, Marisa Tomei, and Didier Flamand

Genre: Drama

Audience: Adults

Rating: R

Runtime: 94 minutes

Distributor: IFC Films

Director: Bent Hamer

Executive Producer: Christina Kunewa Walker

Producer: Bent Hamer and Jim Stark

Writer: Bent Hamer and Jim Stark

Address Comments To:

Joshua Sapan, President/CEO
IFC Films/IFC Entertainment
Rainbow Media Holdings, Inc.
(Independent Movie Channel/IFC Films/Bravo Networks)
200 Jericho Quadrangle
Jericho, NY 11753
Phone: (516) 803-3000
Fax: (516) 803-4616
Website: www.ifctv.com

Content:

(RoRo, B, PaPa, LLL, VV, SS, NN, AAA, D, MMM) Strong Romantic worldview of creative writing as simply a means of total personal risk and radical self-expression, no matter how immoral that expression may be, protagonist rejects girlfriend's comment that the Bible teaches that people are supposed to love thy neighbor (he just wants his neighbors to leave him alone, and he will leave them alone), and alcoholic protagonist mainly seeks only three things – booze, women (especially sex, though not exclusively) and sitting down to write things to send to publishers; 36 mostly strong obscenities, four strong profanities, one light profanity, and vomiting; some brief strong violence such as alcoholic protagonist hits girlfriend when he finds her cheating in a bar, and protagonist angrily knocks man down who took his usual seat at the racetrack and viciously punches him off screen (victim's body is hidden by the row of seats in front of his seat); strong sexual content includes scenes of depicted fornication, unmarried couple lives together, and man gets a sexually transmitted disease but over-uses the medicine he's given and his girlfriend has to delicately wrap his private parts; brief upper female nudity, upper male nudity and rear male nudity; almost constant alcohol use, including drunkenness, apparent alcoholism and protagonist walks off jobs to go drink in bars; smoking; and, gambling, protagonist is rebellious toward employers and father, protagonist lives a transient and ultimately isolated existence, protagonist has poor work habits, and movie implicitly justifies the protagonist's immoral life by his artistic abilities.

Summary:

FACTOTUM, based on an early novel by the alcoholic, iconoclastic writer, Charles Bukowski, stars Matt Dillon as Bukowski's alter ego, an alcoholic writer who finds inspiration in the pain and pleasure of his transient, booze-soaked life. The movie's performances and humor keep the viewer interested, but the movie contains strong foul language, alcohol abuse, drunken violence, explicit sex, brief nudity, and a strong Romantic worldview of writing as a means of radical self-expression, no matter how immoral.

Review:

FACTOTUM is based on an early novel by Charles Bukowski, an honorary "beat writer" who wrote about skid row, hangovers, drinking, transients, and women, including prostitutes. His iconoclastic poetry, novels and short stories were informal and humorous perspectives of people living on the streets, mostly the streets of Los Angeles.

In FACTOTUM, Matt Dillon stars as Bukowski's alcoholic alter ego, Henry Chinaski. Henry considers himself a writer, but his quests for booze and women sidetrack and seduce him. Henry begins a relationship with another alcoholic, Jan, played by Lili Taylor. Their intoxicated relationship totters between love, desire and loathing. Their on-again, off-again romance is accompanied by Henry's lack of interest in any steady work except his writing.

FACTOTUM is a slice-of-life drama, but focuses on lives lived in the gutter. The drunken protagonist lives on the edge. He is a writer who risks everything, but finds poetry in the pleasure and pain that is his chosen life. The movie's performances and humor keep the viewer interested, but the movie also contains plenty of strong foul language, lots of alcohol abuse, some drunken violence, explicit sex, and brief nudity. The movie makes few judgments on the protagonist's immoral lifestyle, but it does side with his Romantic worldview of the writer as an artist whose role is just to express himself, no matter how immoral or radical that expression may be. Apparently, Bukowski also believed that you can't be a good or an honest writer unless you are willing to take radical personal risks. "Go all the way," his alter-ego says at the end of the movie. Thus, ultimately, the movie implicitly justifies the protagonist's immoral lifestyle by his artistic abilities and iconoclastic, Romantic beliefs.

In Brief:

FACTOTUM, based on an early novel by the alcoholic, iconoclastic writer, Charles Bukowski, stars Matt Dillon. Dillon plays Bukowski's alcoholic alter-ego, Henry Chinaski. Henry considers himself a writer, but his quests for booze and women sidetrack him. Henry begins a relationship with another alcoholic, Jan, played by Lili Taylor. Their intoxicated relationship totters between love, desire and loathing. Their on-again, off-again romance is accompanied by Henry's lack of interest in any steady work except his writing.

FACTOTUM is a slice-of-life drama, but focuses on lives lived in the gutter. The drunken protagonist lives on the edge. He is a writer who risks everything, but finds poetry in the pleasure and pain that is his chosen life. The movie's performances and humor keep the viewer interested, but the movie also contains plenty of strong foul language, lots of alcohol abuse, some drunken violence, explicit sex, and brief nudity. The movie makes few judgments on the protagonist's immoral lifestyle and character. It does, however, side with the protagonist's Romantic worldview of the writer as an artist whose role is just to express himself, no matter how immoral that expression may be.