Factotum Movie Review
Matt Dillon plays the loser of losers in Factotum, a drama that doesn't break any barriers but offers the actor a platform to do what he does best: play a scumbag.
Dillon stars as Henry Chinaski, a struggling writer who skips from lousy job to lousy job without any care for permanence or stability. While he waits for his big breakthrough in journalism, he spends his days getting drunk and having sex. His parents have all but disowned him, and his relationship with his on-and-off again girlfriend (Lili Taylor) is dysfunctional at best.
The movie, directed by Norwegian Bent Hamer, is a fun little film that presents an intriguing character study. Dillon's character shows glimmers of potential, but always recedes back to his old ways despite people telling him he needs ambition and drive. Despite all of his problems, he is driven by his writing and poetry, which is excellent. The guy is a complete and utter loser who doesn't deserve respect or a second chance, yet Hamer has created an individual whom we root for nonetheless.
Dillon is terrific in the lead. The marketing for the film claims this is Dillon's best performance - I don't know about that, but it is certainly one of his better ones. In the last few years, Dillon has grown from a two-bit actor to a rising star, and seems to be getting better with every passing year. Taylor, in a supporting role, is also quite good, though her character really isn't given enough time to develop into anything more than an alcoholic slut (well, not that bad).
Factotum is a very good character study that offers some excellent performances. It isn't for everyone, but for those who like films that are off the beaten track, this one is a winner.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.