Much as his role in Rumble Fish, star Mickey Rourke as Henry Chinaski inhabits a world of seedy bars, cheap hotels and poetry as if he was born there. It’s a performance filled with great humour and warmth despite its seedy close to the bottom backdrop.
Into the dimness of the bar comes Wanda (Faye Dunaway) who provides some form of light in the alcohol haze of Henry’s daily existence. But there’s little equilibrium in Henry’s world where you’re only a drink away from disaster. Enter Tully (the always fantastic Alice Krige) a rich young girl who whose interest in Henry as a poet is not to Wanda’s liking and here the real struggle around Henry begins.
Based on the world of writer Charles Bukowski – also writer of the film – it’s both tender and funny with Roger Ebert saying “The result is a truly original American movie, a film like no other…the kinds of people we try not to see, and yet might enjoy more than some of our more visible friends. Barfly is one of the year’s best films.”
Screens with You Never Had it: An Evening with Bukowski