It’s funny, I watch this and think sometimes that Mikey Rourke has created a liquid man in his portrayal of Henry Chinaski. He flows around the screen, his movements are fluid, his speech is fluid, it flows from him like the booze flows in, with smooth action. Sometimes in that flow by panning around you find gold, you don’t have to look to hard as it shines brightly and stays with you. The lines are classic, I too would become a liquid man, a drunk, if I could deliver some golden nuggets like Henry can, alas I cannot.
Is it wrong to find Faye Dunaway so appealing in her middle age? she plays Wanda with the wit of a woman and the sex appeal of a girl, she can’t help but be captivating in every way, an equal balance to Rourke’s charm. Wanda is dangerous, like a spider to a fly, but don’t get too close because she can be a user, using men like drink, she’ll take her fill and if your not enough she’ll find another.
Barfly is not perfect, for sure some of the character and some the situations seem implausible or unrealistic, but then it doesn’t really matter. For anyone who has ever been drunk, life becomes absurd, full of implausibility and two dimensional people. Within this we become a drunken hero, the protagonist of our own drunken tale just like Henry the supercharged drunken hero, all right by being all wrong.
If you have never seen Barfly, approaching this film is is like trying to approach a drunk, if you go sober you may not find sense or empathy, so go with your mind appropriately steeped in booze, you might just come away with a liquid hero.