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Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
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Index 279 reviews in total 

Clooney tries the big statement (a la Soderbergh Solaris) but there's not enough to chew on

5/10
Author: Framescourer from London, UK
26 September 2003

Sam Rockwell gives a colourful characterisation of Chuck Barris, the TV Exec whose claim to be a part time CIA hit-man provides the 'Dangerous' of the title's Mind. Clooney sees the cranks up the obvious humour in this situation that Barris sees as simply extraordinary.

Unfortunately the film falls a bit flat. Largely this is because of the subject matter. Where Barris seems to have had success in large enough quotation marks to be developed on its own, it must necessarily give way to the European excursions of Commie-slaying. As a result the well-produced sequences of the various game shows that Barris produced cannot be developed beyond statements, funny though they are. This bit of the film cannot compete with Robert Redford's excellent Quiz Show.

For it's part, the episodes as a hit-man, though stylishly dispatched are inconsequential (and the final murderous double cross doesn't make sense to this pedant viewer, sorry to say). We have to rely on the quirks of the characters and the sassy construction of the picture. A lot of that is in place with great performances from Clooney's chums. A s a director he shows a great deal of command floating fun and pathos on a pool of surrealism which has interest in its own right. But the pacing fluctuates a little abruptly. Hey, he's just a rookie.

It's not worth the effort, but you won't regret having sat through it with plenty to admire and laugh at. 5/10

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Another outstanding script from the underrated Kaufman

Author: chris (christophaskell@hotmail.com) from Premiere Video
16 September 2003

While George Clooney should get some recognition for doing a great job on his first time out directing, I think most of the accolades should go to Charlie Kaufman for again writing an outstanding script. Whether or not Kaufman is a good screenwriter is not a matter of opinion...after many long hours with a calculator and a thermometer I have found mathematical proof, which I will now share with you, that the man is amazing: A great movie Anything and Anybody + A Charlie Kaufman Screenplay. The ways in which his creations interact and understand each other convinces you that they are real, and the conversation is happening right in front of you. The dialogue between actors is so distinct that distinguishing characters would be just as easy blind-folded. Of course, he got help from some great acting by Rockwell and Barrymore, but even they said it was the script that really got them excited about the project. I could go on, but I think I've said enough. Watch ‘Confessions of a Dangerous Mind', then run to the video store and watch everything else written by Kaufman. He will challenge you and make you love movies again. Rating: 32/40

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better than average

Author: miyagi_2 from Brisbane
27 August 2003

I found that this film was an interesting look at a interesting person weather it was real or not. I really liked all the different visual effects that give the movie a very unique look and feel, the ending... perfect. watch out for various cameo and also the feel good songs from way back.

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bravo to everyone involved!

Author: jarverr
27 August 2003

i love this picture! from start to finish, it had very good pacing. the performances are top-notch, and so is the directing. it's a amazing how george clooney can do a lot even in his first foray into the field of film directing. the film is darkly funny at times, and sometimes there are some disturbing aspects about it. all of them are intriguing. pay attention to the fat guy who constantly harasses barris because he couldn't date the woman who picked him in his tv show. the film also has some nice twists. the last shot of this movie --- very ... intersting. i didn't quite get it. maybe i should see this again! yes, i should! lastly, clooney's style is one of the best. very similar to what soderbergh has done in few of his films, it's also good to note that soderbergh co-directed this one alongside his buddy clooney. and watch for a cameo of brad pitt and matt damon! well worth a look. 5/5 stars.

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Entertaining borderline insanity

Author: Philby-3 from Sydney, Australia
17 August 2003

This movie surprised me; I was expecting a comedy-caper along the lines of `Catch Me if You Can' and got instead a `True Confessions' from someone who did more than most to turn TV programming into a race to the bottom (an honest title, in fact). `Truth' is of course relative, and the CIA assassin scenario is in all probability a product of Chuck Barris' not awfully well-balanced mind, but it fits in well with his other life as a producer of junk television. The secret agent sequences are often rather sombre in tone and provide an interesting contrast to the frenetic TV studio scenes.

Chuck Barris starts out in this movie with an overwhelming desire to get laid, but even though he attains this ambition fairly easily in the TV industry it gives him little satisfaction. The contract killing is more exciting but unfortunately makes him feel guilty; he is haunted by his victims at inconvenient times such as his own wedding. I'm not quite sure what Dr Freud would have said about such a person, but the Barris of the film is someone who just can't resist temptation and can't help feeling bad about giving way. The spiral downwards into despair and near-madness is inevitable.

As others have remarked, Sam Rockwell puts in a great performance, but then it's a great part. We do wind up feeling sorry for him despite the mayhem he has caused, if only because Penny the Brick is there for him (another fine performance from Drew Barrymore ). A brick, by the way, is someone who is solid and dependable, the complete opposite of Chuck Why Penny fancies Chuck isn't really explained – must be the contrast with her own sunny, relaxed personality.

George Clooney directs from a script by the pleasantly off-centre George Kaufman. The script is actually nothing special by Kaufman standards but Clooney has a lot of fun with the camera and abrupt scene changes. What lingers though is something used to good effect in `A Beautiful Mind' – the deliberate mixing of real and imagined events in the character's mind so that the viewer is left wondering which is which. Obviously a loopy character like Chuck has trouble distinguishing reality and fantasy, but the film does convey how difficult it is for him.

This film is certainly entertaining and its somewhat dark tone is not off-putting. I don't care whether any of it is true (there is absolutely no corroboration of Chuck's alleged career as an assassin) but there is a serious side to the story which Clooney handles with discretion. He's an able fellow, for an actor.

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Harrowing journey of one man's torment

Author: lisa lionheart
1 August 2003

Riveting. Cynical. Desperate. Empty. Tortured. Haunting.

These words come to mind as I describe both the movie, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, and its portrayal of Chuck Barris (Sam Rockwell). I won't go into plot details, except to mention that he was a successful US television producer and also claimed to be a CIA agent. What hit me hardest about this movie was Barris' inner torment that drove him nearly mad. The juxtaposition of Barris' having two conflicting jobs, one entertaining people and the other, killing people, was almost unbearable to watch. Every scene was compelling as it narrated the psychological development of Mr Barris - media mogul and cold killer. Confessions was made even more interesting by splicing the film with comments about Chuck from media colleagues, and finally, a shot of the man himself. The ending was superb, if not unsettling, and it summed up the movie perfectly. This movie may not appeal to as many outside of the US, who might not be familiar with the shows he produced, such as the Gong Show and the Newlywed Game, but I urge you to see this movie and ponder the utter sadness of Mr Barris' existence.

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Requires some effort to stick with it, but the reward is an interesting and entertaining movie.

Author: pierre_bernard
19 May 2003

This adaptation of Chuck Barris? autobiography which portrays the inventor of many game shows as a parttime CIA agent. I can?t tell how much truth there is to this story, but it sure makes for an interesting movie.

The directorial debut of George Clooney also has a lot to please the eye. There are some surprising shots. There is one occurrence of two people talking on the phone literally being in the same shot. At times intercut images seem to fail to tell a story, but one later on realises what information one actually got.

We also get some very interesting cinematography work here. At first it seems like the movie is just trying too hard to look different. You get flashy colors, out-of-focus images, ... but in fact it all adds up quite nicely. The scenes depicting Barris? TV are very colorful. Those showing him as CIA agent have a set dressing almost limited to black and white only.

Interestingly enough the movie works as a flashback catching up and moving on beyond the time from which it originally seems to be told. This is almost like

having a flashback within a flashback.

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A surprisingly good directorial debut, if no masterpiece

Author: R. J. (jorge.mourinha@gmail.com) from Lisbon
13 April 2003

Forget about George Clooney the "ER" heartthrob - after a string of films chosen for credibility over box-office and his producing investment with Steven Soderbergh in the risk-taking Section Eight company, his directorial debut is an equally risky proposition adapting a script that "Being John Malkovich" and "Adaptation" writer Charlie Kaufman had been touting around Hollywood for a while. Actually, the book on which it based is straight up Kaufman's alley: the allegedly "unauthorized autobiography" of TV producer Chuck Barris, creator of "The Dating Game" and "The Gong Show", where he alleges to have been a CIA contract killer in-between his TV responsibilities. Whether this is the actual truth (although, as would befit such a story, no proves can ever exist) or a figment of Barris' imagination is left to your own, and this is perfect fodder for Kaufman's favourite subject: reality as opposed to illusion, what constitutes truth and lie, where do we draw the line and how far can we go with it, and how much does perception shape it. Basically, though, it's a film about a little boy lost desperately looking for a way to fit in and overcome his need for love, as effectively presented in Sam Rockwell's strong performance; the fact that it's a story about a TV personality who spent his life reaching for heights, crashing and burning and then coming back for more may have also been a factor in Clooney's choice. However, despite the script's cleverness and Clooney's great way with actors (single-handedly rescuing Rutger Hauer from B-movie limbo with a poignant supporting performance and extracting charming against-type moments from Drew Barrymore and Julia Roberts), his stylized, saturated widescreen compositions, while perfectly in sync with the general outlandish tone, are far too polished and stylish for Kaufman's unconventional script. This is as assured as directorial debuts go, but no masterpiece.

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`On a Blind Date with a Hitman'

Author: Tez-9 from Leeds, England
13 April 2003

Into the cinema I went without the faintest idea of what this film was about, which can sometimes work; er, but not with this film.read on.

Supposedly a 'true story' the film is based on the 'unauthorised autobiography of Chuck Barris' one of whom you have probably never heard of, but have watched his concepts many a time on Saturday evenings with the lovely reputable Cilla Black. Yes I do mean Blind date.

The film begins with a middle-aged man who isolates himself in a flat away from the public, ex-girlfriend (Drew Barrymore) and moreover reality. Sitting at his typewriter, Chuck (Sam Rockwell) narrates how pathetic life is in general and the common thoughts of young hopefuls who dream that in ten years time they will be highly successful, but by the age of sixty, retrospectively analysing where it all went wrong. Five short minutes into the film I have already placed the film into the Drama bucket, until suddenly the camera cuts to a real-life commentary from some random woman, who obviously was acquainted to Chuck. This is shortly followed by commentary from the man himself Chuck Barris, looking like your average elderly man living next door. Somewhat bizarre, you have to give Mr. Clooney benefit of the doubt, this being his directorial debut you can hardly expect him to weigh up to the likes of Scorsese and Peter Jackson, and so I will turn a blind eye. I mean surely it cannot get any worse.

The plot lightens up later, with Chuck blagging his first job at NBC as a tourist guide, and I must say this is the first stage in the film that I become impressed with Mr Clooney. In one continuous shot, the camera centres on Chuck who is grouped with a bunch of tourists being shown around the works of NBC by a girl guide, with the camera swiftly moving onto Chuck now being a tour guide himself, showing a couple around the NBC building. The shot is worked wonderfully well and is clearly emphasised through the smooth movement between the girl guide and Chuck perfected by the scripted NBC dialogue of what both guides are saying simultaneously.

Chuck has bigger ambitions and in hope of sleeping with a woman at work applies for a promotion at NBC. Moving on from here, we see Chuck flying out with reality TV- Show concepts left, right and centre, all of which attract little attention from any TV producers. Chuck now laid off from work, with no one interested in his ideas for a television breakthrough is intruded by Jim Byrd (George Clooney) a CIA specialist in search of his next employee. Agent Byrd having studied Chuck all his life insists that he fits the profile to be a very good killer for the CIA and persuades Chuck to go to a special training camp, where he will learn the necessities of the CIA.

Being involved with the CIA is obviously top-secret classified information and so we have the joy of watching Chuck ducking and diving around in order to prevent anyone, especially his girlfriend, sussing him out. This becomes all the more cumbersome when an ABC executive finally decide that they want to run his show 'The Dating Game.' With the intention of quitting the CIA to solely concentrate on his TV show, Chuck is confronted by Byrd who delivers an irresistible proposition. The CIA will fund couples on 'The Dating Game' to holidays in Eastern Europe and whilst the fortunate couple are having a romantic time away; Chuck will be on his latest mission plugging European Communists.

The film then takes you on board a roller-coaster ride, bringing in the likes of Julia Roberts, lots of killings, terrible talentless people, freakish flashbacks of Chuck in his youth, two quick famous cameo friends of Clooney (I won't spoil it for you), and a clever little twist at the end.

From an overall perspective of the film, it's really not as bad as the first five minutes would suggest. Clooney experiments with the camera and does so quite well, Sam Rockwell, unknown to me before this film, is impressive and Drew Barrymore shows she is more than just a pretty face.

In time, 'Confessions Of Dangerous Mind' could well be regarded as a masterpiece. 8/10.

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NICE ONE GEORGE

5/10
Author: kevin c from HERTFORD, England
9 April 2003

Not sure if this is a true story, but there must at least be an element of truth. What we have is a very lively film full of spirit.

Well done Clooney, a very good directorial debut. Well done Rockwell, you take centre-stage and are up to the challenge.

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