Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Norway/USA/Germany/France/Italy, 2005. Bulbul Films, Canal+, Celluloid Dreams, Factotum, MBP, Mikado Film, Network Movie Film-und Fernsehproduktion, Norsk Filmfond, Norsk Filmstudio, Norwegian Film Institute, Pandora Filmproduktion, SF Norge A/S, StarkSales Inc., ZDF/Arte. Screenplay by Bent Hamer, based on the novel by Cinematography by Produced by Bent Hamer, Jim Stark. Music by Kristin Asbjornsen. Production Design by Eve Cauley. Costume Design by Tere Duncan. Film Editing by Pal Gengenbach.
Charles Bukowski is once again brought to the screen with absorbing results. Matt Dillon is excellent, if a bit too movie-star polished, as the author’s alter-ego Chinaski, constantly pursuing the dream of getting his writing published while keeping a series of odd jobs to pay rent and buy a long succession of drinks. The engaging, picaresque plot sees him through the variety of failed employments, most of them ending because of his drinking on the job, as well as his adventures with a few women, most of them as bad at the bottle as he is: Lili Taylor as a hotel chambermaid whose self-destructive personality makes Chinaski look like Tony Robbins, and Marisa Tomei as a woman who has no qualms about trading her body for booze. Intelligent direction, a great script and excellent performances make for a highly enjoyable film despite its very depressing circumstances and characters.