Watching “Factotum,” I was reminded of Steve Buscemi’s similarly-themed “Trees Lounge.” Like “Lounge,” “Factotum” is about the dead-end, bottom-wrung alcoholic life of its protagonist Hank, and has a knack with clever dialogue that undercuts its grim circumstances without diluting them. It’s no surprise that the screenplay contains so many terrific lines, as it’s based of a series of short stories by Charles Bukowski, and it’s easy to see Matt Dillon’s Hank as a stand-in for the writer himself. Speaking of Dillon, he’s superlative here, able to communicate a lot about his character’s inner life without changing the expression of his face. He’s matched beat for beat by a terrific Lili Taylor, who plays his similarly hard-living on-and-off girlfriend without a hint of artifice. At a relatively short 90-ish minutes, the movie doesn’t wear out its welcome, and it’s the type of quiet drama that slowly reels you in and stays with you for days.
Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)