Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

(2002) directed by George Clooney – starring Sam Rockwell, Drew Barrymore, George Clooney (and, briefly, Maggie Gyllenhaal)

Synopsis: Based on a ‘true’ story. Covers the life of game show mastermind Chuck Barris and delves into the murky waters of his round-the-globe adventures as a CIA hitman. We see Chuck rise to prominence as a game show creator/host. We see Chuck accosted by the shady CIA-types, taught how to kill a man (with only his hands), presented with missions. We see Chuck, confused. We see Chuck try to reconcile these seemingly polar-opposite lifestyles. We see Chuck mug at the camera. Comedy-infused drama ensues.

Review: One of my first thoughts after hearing about this movie was something like, ‘Right, like George Clooney can direct.’ I didn’t expect him to be horrible, but I didn’t have high hopes, either. I was pleasantly surprised. This is a fun movie that manages to juggle wry humor, grim absurdity, and comic gags—and stay on its feet in the process. Mostly it works because Sam Rockwell, who plays Chuck Barris, is a genius. As far as him accurately portraying the “real” Chuck Barris, I have no idea. But for the purposes of this movie—part farce, part self-effacing drama, part comedic adventure—his portrayal is brilliant. There are some strange things throughout this movie: sporadic interviews with real-life friends and acquaintances of the real-life Chuck Barris; curious one-shot transitions, switching between scenes without stopping the camera or invoking any computerized wizardry; bizarre lapses into both serious drama and fantasy; and so forth. Some of these things, on their own, might be questionable. With Rockwell, however, they simply feed into the utterly tilted mindset of the movie. Which really isn’t a movie so much as an experience. This is not the best movie ever made. It’s not the most consistent. But it’s insanely original (even if it is based on a quasi-autobiography) and it’s a helluva fun time.

Rating: [••••] out of [•••••]

Etc:: imdb info