Sign up for our newsletters   

Baltimore City Paper home.

film Home > Movie Reviews




Director:Bent Hamer
Cast:Matt Dillon, Lily Tyler, Fisher Stevens, Marisa Tomei
Release Date:2006

Opens Sept. 8 at the Charles Theatre

By Cole Haddon | Posted 9/6/2006

This latest attempt to adapt a Charles Bukowski novel into a worthwhile movie chronicles the picaresque misadventures of eternally down-on-his-luck boozer/writer Henry Chinaski. As Chinaski, Bukowskiís literary alter ego, Matt Dillon works his ass off to justify his unjustifiable best supporting actor nod for Crash and, believe it or not, almost succeeds as he lumbers across the screen, so defeated that his posture is buckling and he mutters his dialogue like a man being forced to speak against his will. He loses jobs, he gambles, he beds women such as Lili Taylor and Marisa Tomei, and he drinks. He drinks a lot. If heís not drinking on-screen, you know he was when you werenít looking. Considering the fact that itís pretty hard to watch what this guy is doing to himself, thatís often. But somehow, like Bukowski did in his work, director and co-writer Bent Hamer manages to distill beauty from Chinaskiís determination to plow through all the misery to someplace where his art will be recognized. Unfortunately, while Bukowski managed to find humor in the most extraordinarily degrading situations, Hamer only asks that you laugh from your seat at his black comedy. Dillonís Chinaski, on the other hand, is humorless.

Comments powered by Disqus
CP on Facebook
CP on Twitter