Charles Bukowski once said "Genius is the ability to say a profound thing in a simple way" - and that he did, with frank, street-level language that put his readers into his moment, in sometimes less than two lines.
This is also the same man who said "Alcohol is probably one of the greatest things to arrive upon the earth alongside of me."
I did not read Bukowski's novel Factotum, but I did catch the movie last night on cable. Note to Indy fans: Comcast digital cable allows you to rent some independent films that are currently out in theaters.
Matt Dillon brilliantly plays Henry Chinaski, the fictional alter-ego of Bukowski. Some reviews like Dillon's Chinaski better than Mickey Rourke's in Barfly. But be warned - those who do not know the works and style of Bukowski may be disturbed by a story of a man who is either drinking cheap alcohol or drunk on it from the night before as he gets fired from one meaningless job to the next. And Bukowski would be grateful if you are disturbed.
Factotum (and Bukowski's poems) offers great graphic depictions of alcoholism, but to me this doesn't equate with greatness in and of itself. It's the delivery methods of Chinaski's honesty that's brilliant. Just as fish must swim and birds must fly, Henry Chinaski has to do the things he has to do - drink, shack up with women and write. In no particular order. His needs in life are often unsatisfied by the countless menial jobs that become a cruel imposition of his time.
It's not the Leaving Las Vegas story of a purposeful downward spiral - it's a story of a man who lives life exactly the way he chooses.
I was captivated by the film. It inspired me to look up Bukowski's poems and get lost in more imagery.
orig published by doych 11/30/2006 8:31:44 PM