- compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2006 1 Jan
from Film Forum, 08/24/06
Matt Dillon has played a lot of outsiders. In Factotum, he plays Henry Chinanski, a veteran of bar fights, drunkenness, lost jobs, and ill-advised romances—a character created by writer Charles Bukowski.
Harry Forbes (Catholic News Service) says that character won't appeal to many moviegoers, even though "Norwegian writer-director Bent Hamer captures Hank's desolate world with uncompromising exactitude, but the film's pacing is, to put it charitably, deliberate at best. … While [the characters'] behavior is reprehensible across the board, the film presents it as such, without glorification. But the unrelenting ugliness of the story and language, strong sexual elements and overall amoral behavior of its protagonists—despite the film's literary pedigree—will seriously limit its appeal."
Mainstream critics are divided. Some praise it as one of the best adaptations of Bukowski's work, others find it too slow and monotonous.