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Bukowski: Born Into This review

Ignore the irritant buzz of Mickey Rourke vehicle Barfly. This is a far more welcome squint into the topsy-turvy life of German émigré Charles Bukowski, street poet, habitual fighter and lifelong alcoholic.

Shuffling together famous talking heads (Sean Penn, Bono, Tom Waits) and priceless archive footage, director John Dullaghan touches all bases: abusive childhood, acne-ridden adolescence, peripatetic odd-jobbing, literary rejections, blemished love affairs and booze, booze, booze. Then came Bukowski's acceptance as a "modern-day Whitman", his cage-rattling newspaper columns and beautifully bruised poems paving the way for genius novels like Post Office, Factotum and Ham On Rye.

There's little here that fans won't already know, but it's great to hear it from the mouths of ex-publishers, ex-lovers and the X-rated Bukowski himself. He may have lived only to "drink, write and fuck", but what drinking, what writing and - - if Bukowski's to be believed - - what fucking...

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