Stirring praise for Factotum star Matt Dillon from critic Anthony Lane: “The beautiful joke of Factotum” — Bent Hamer‘s adaptation of Charles Bukowski‘s novel — “is that Dillon is nobility itself.
“He may also be savage, swiping Lily Taylor off her barstool with a backhand smack, and he is certainly wounded, rising from his bed to throw up and then swig his first beer of the day, yet there is something graven and classical in the brow and bearded chin which speaks of disappointed hauteur; he is like a leftover Roman, beaten up by the places he once aimed to conquer and falling, inch by inch, on his sword. In the words of one onlooker, ‘You look like you√ɬ¢√¢‚Äö¬¨√¢‚Äû¬¢ve been around. You look like you√ɬ¢√¢‚Äö¬¨√¢‚Äû¬¢ve got class.’
“Of all the pretty boys of the 1980s, Dillon has not just ripened most convincingly; he has discovered that the weatherings of age were exactly what he was waiting for.
“His racist cop was the best thing in Crash, and his rescue of Thandie Newton from an upturned car, with the flames crawling closer, has rightly burned a hole in viewers√ɬ¢√¢‚Äö¬¨√¢‚Äû¬¢ minds. A sloppy actor would have made the scene redemptive; he would have smiled upon the woman as he dragged her free, and his enfolding hug would have told of lessons learned. Instead, Dillon was aghast, stiffened with something unredeemable, and he clutched at Newton as if he, not she, had been trapped inside the fire.”
I first saw Factotum at the May 2005 cannes Film Festival. I wrote last February after speaking to Dillon at Sundance tat his performance “as Bukowski’s alter-ego Henry Chinaski isn’t just more nuanced and naturalistic than Mickey Rourke’s riff on the boozy writer-poet in Barfly and Ben Gazarra’s in Tales of Ordinary Madness — it exudes an exceptional dignity.”