5 Stars
Year Released: 2002
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 127 minutes
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The man, the myth, the Bukowski. Here’s a movie that requires you to tie one on after, if not during the screening.
For a first time filmmaker who only turned onto Charles Bukowski about 10 years ago, “Bukowski: Born Into This” presents just about everything you want to know about the legendary poet and I don’t think I’m going to see a finer film at Park City this year. Bukowski is one of my all time favorite writers and now I have an all new respect for the man thanks to John Dullaghan’s phenomenal film. I’ll be breaking out Post Office, Ham On Rye, and Notes of a Dirty Old Man again very soon.
For Bukowski fans, this is a fuckin’ dream come true. The film is jam-packed with Bukowski interviews Dullaghan cribbed from other sources. These interviews include Bukowski expanding on debauched tales that readers have known and loved for years; he even does a little tour of the house he grew up and was beaten in as chronicled in Ham and Rye. You can tell it’s pretty tough on the guy and it’s almost as tough on the audience to watch. Other points of interst have us meet the various women Bukowski shared his dick with. He also takes an interviewer by his infamous mailman route.
But more importantly, we get to see a different side of Bukowski that many of us may not have known existed – the sensitive side. Now, certainly some of this sensitive side has shown through in some of Bukowski’s writing, but did you ever think you’d see the man cry? In “Born Into This,” you get to see just that. During an interview, Bukowski reads a poem about one of his ex-girlfriends and upon mentioning her name, breaks into tears, reading the rest of the piece while crying. I haven’t been so shocked since I saw John Lydon cry while talking about Sid Vicious in “The Filth and the Fury.” But of course, he recomposes himself and reverts back to the Bukowski we are all familiar with by saying, “Shit, I read you the wrong poem.”
As far as people who aren’t quite familiar with Bukowski’s work, but are curious, they may just find their new literary addiction. Either way, this is an amazing documentary. I understand filmmaker Dullaghan went through seven years of hard work to finally bring this film to us, so I sure as shit hope he gets all the accolades he deserves. I’m pretty sure Bukowski is smiling down on him from that big watering hole in the sky.

Posted on May 31, 2004 in Reviews by

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