The Illusionist


3.5 stars

If you watch old movies, as I do on occasion, you are struck by the fact that Hollywood has always made movies about the lives of the upper middle class and the fabulously wealthy. But until the dawn of the television age, Hollywood also used to make movies about working class people, families and problems. Today, we get maybe one or two such films a year. This one is the first I can remember this year, and is excellent.

No plot, just a series of anecdotes one after another. If you're interested in plot, stay away. If you're interested in watching Matt Dillon act the hell out of Bent Hamer's interpretation of the work of Charles Bukowski, then by all means come. He's the third Hank Chinaski on film (after Micky Rourke and Ben Gazzara), and, in my opinion, the best. Lili Taylor and Marisa Tomei get better-than-average women's roles in the film.

IMDB says the film is about Chinanski taking jobs that won't get in the way of his writing, and that drinking and gambling distract him. I think he takes jobs that won't get in the way of his drinking and gambling, and that writing is just what he does when other people might do crosswords or jigsaw puzzles.

Anyway, a great film if you like art and good performances.