Charles Bukowski led a heavy drinking life himself that he romanticised in his novels as his alter ego Henry Chinaski who’s a lovable bum heavy on drinking. Enter Barfly, the first US-made movie featuring the character, played by Mickey Rourke.
A movie that does not really have much of a plot going for it, the show is ultimately kept afloat by the sheer charisma put into the role by Rourke – although Bukowski wasn’t reportedly entirely sold with his version of Chinaski. I don’t know, Rourke really puts a lot of himself – or rather, his lovable bum persona – to the role. I do like it, but I can also see the movie being quite different and more poetic in some other hands.
As far as the hybrid Rourke/Bukowski character goes, he is an interesting mix of far ends of the same spectrum: self destruction vs skill to survive, intelligence vs acting like an ass, poetic vs foul mouthed and depressed vs smile that never seems to wear out.