Saturday, July 18, 2015

Barfly (1987)


Director: Barbet Schroeder
Writer:    Charles Bukowski
Cast:       Mickey Rourke, Faye Dunaway, Alice Krige


Film is based on the life of successful poet Charles Bukowski and his exploits in Hollywood during 60s, 70s and 80s. 

I had seen '9 Full Moons' two days back and Barfly was something that came up frequently while reading about it. The comparison is based on the odd personalities of the couple in question. In 9 Full Moons, they were a bit more subtle about it while in Barfly, both of them are equally 'damaged' heavy drinkers. Mannerisms of Mickey Rourke, playing the author character Henry Chinaski, is a bit off-putting initially but you get used to it. I guess those who are familiar with Charles Bukowski would know what to expect. I have seen the film 'Factotum', which again featured the character Henry Chinaski, many years back and kind of knew what was coming. In Barfly, the romantic angle is not the center piece of the film and is more of an examination of the character Henry Chinaski. I think if you don't already know that the character is an aspiring writer, then you might find the intermittent burst of literary flourishes bit out of the blue. 

Overall the film is a great watch but not for everyone. I found it endearing by the end even though I really don't buy his theory about living the life this way to help aid his literature. Maybe, I need to read some of his work to totally get it. The opening credits with shots of various bars/pubs sets the tone for the film and the visuals for it are stunning to say the least and reminded me of  the bar scenes from 'Swingers'. Night scenes in the film are especially great and 'The Kino Flo' lighting was first developed for this film. 

Rating: 4/5