Factotum is an adaptation of the novel with the same name by American writer Charles Bukowski. We embark on a journey of Matt Dillon portraying the alto ego of Bukowski’s heartbreakingly humorous, quirky and melancholic life of depressive writer Hank Chinaski. A man with many jobs, Factotum follows the womanizing alcoholic Chinaski. A man who can’t seem to hold down any job, Chinaski narrates his life and wisdom through the voice over narrations. A struggling writer who can only support himself with a sequence of minimum waged paid jobs, none of which he can hold down. Iceman, pickle factory worker, bike inventory manager these jobs all blur together into a miasma of supercilious bosses, smoking and drinking on the job and the constant phrase of “Mr Chinaski, you're fired”.
Chinaski has so much character that the entire drive of the film is solely on the voice over narration of Chinaski. The stories and poems Chinaski writes and narrates in film are actually Charles Bukowski published shorts and poems. The voice overs are a remarkable visual description of Chinaski inner self, very similar to Bukowski’s writing. Factotum is a great insight into the semi-biographical life of Bukowski. With such a melancholic and miserable character it’s so bizarre that Chinaski makes it an amusing story to watch; leaving work early to gamble at the horse track and never taking responsibility for his actions. It seems Chinaski’s only love in life is to write his thoughts on the world and the people he encounters.
Factotum is not just about a man that follows the life of poverty to remain humble. Factotum embarks on a journey of a writer who is trapped in a creative ambition. Chinaski is a man that is presented to be a no body but rather has more wisdom on the philosophy of life than Aristotle or Plato. What a world Chinaski shows us, a life of alcoholism, touring the bars from one state to another and all the pathetic people with interesting stories but most often having lived boring lives. Just like the book with Bukowski’s words, Henri Chinaski’s voice over narrations narrates his existence with pristine clarity, the fascinating story of a man who decides to live poor so he can write.