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UKScreen Rating:

Factotum – Review

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Henry Chinaski (Dillon) is one of cinema’s lovely losers – someone who sabotages ever opportunity he ever makes for himself by giving up before he’s given it a chance.
In time-honoured movie-fashion, he drinks, smokes and gambles his way from one dead-end job to the next and from one doting girlfriend to another.
In a series of episodes from his life, his life hovers somewhere between below average and downright depressing, living in decrepit apartments as he tries to follow his dream of becoming a writer.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

Given the subject matter, this film is surprisingly breezy. It’s partly because of Dillon’s carefree performance sticks two fingers up – or, given that it’s American, just the one – to all society’s conventions that say you should aim to settle down and find a sensible job.
He lives his life on the edge, doing what he wants, when he wants – and chasing an apparently futile dream.
His encounters are balanced precariously in that cinematic territory, somewhere between reality and surrealism – somewhere in the vicinity of Curb Your Enthusiasm. The writings of Charles Bukowski are darker than Larry David’s take on the hopelessness of everyday life – not least because one’s a loser, when it comes to writing and women and the other is a successful Hollywood writer with a beautiful wife.
It’s intentionally episodic – some of the elements work better than others. This kind of film can never be a rewarding way to spend an hour and a half unless it’s considerably more hit than miss, which this isn’t, but if you have little else to do, there are certainly moments that will make it worth your while.

Opens nationwide on 18th November 2005

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