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|Index||279 reviews in total|
George Clooney can direct? And he's even really good at it? I remember
watching the movie and being mainly impressed with the direction, which was
fresh and visionary. Imagine my surprise when the words "Directed By George
Clooney" popped up on the screen. I can't (couldn't) help but think of
George Clooney as a vacuous screen hunk with as much talent or future as any
one of the thousands of "boy band" singers... turns out he's to screen hunks
what Justin Timberlake and Robbie Williams are to boy bands - genuinely
talented people who just started their career that way.
The film in itself is well-performed and interesting and kept my attention, mainly because of that darn good direction.
Wow. I'm gonna keep my eye out for Mr. Clooney.
I love movies written by Charlie Kaufman, a wildly imaginative and quirky
screenwriter, but this isn't the movie I'd point people to for an example of
that. Here, Kaufman doesn't really play with your expectations, but instead
pretty much just adapts Barris's life story. One gets the feeling neither
Clooney nor Kaufman believe Barris, at least judging by a movie that gives
us events that we would snort at in a 50s B spy movie. I don't know if the
most outlandish plot points are directly from the book, but it's all pretty
silly stuff. But it's only mildly interesting stuff, and by giving us a
straight telling of events Kaufman lets his fans down.
Clooney's direction is generally capable although occasionally unnecessarily gimmicky and the performances are good (it's fun to see Julia Roberts play someone so un-Julia Roberts), but all-in-all it's nothing exceptional.
The trick that makes this film work is that it is entertaining enough
that you will probably not care whether or not Chuck Barris really was
a hit-man for the CIA. That is beside the point, in my opinion. What
George Clooney and Charlie Kaufman have done is created a darkly comic
and visually captivating film that grabs you attention from the get-go
and doesn't let go.
Clooney, a first time director, shoots the film in technicolor hues, presumably as an homage to the days when these game shows were created. The film is also not afraid to paint Barris in a less-than-stellar light, but never in such a negative one that you lose interest. Clooney recruits an A-list cast for his movie, which, besides himself, includes Julia Roberts in a hilariously mischievous turn as Barris' Eastern European contact/mistress, playing her role like a Bond girl who is too smart for her own good. Also along for the ride is Drew Barrymore, who plays his longtime girlfriend Penny, who for some reason keeps giving him more chances despite the fact that he never earns it.
Between the direction, cinematography, script, and acting (certainly a breakthrough for Rockwell), the film strikes the right balance of dark humor, spy thriller, and love story- all presented with a subtle wink to the audience. True or not? Who cares? It's a thoroughly enjoyable film either way.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
While watching this film I never thought that this was suppose to make me
believe the claim that Barris made in his book but what I came away with is
that this is a man that suffers from deep depression and this is an
interesting film. Story is about Chuck Barris (Sam Rockwell) and how he
slowly became successful in developing television shows like "The Dating
Game", "The Newlywed Game", and "The Gong Show". He meets a hippie named
Penny (Drew Barrymore) and she loves him but he is reluctant to get serious
and get married and also divulge his secret. He's a hitman for the
A CIA operative named Jim Byrd (George Clooney) recruits Chuck and sends him to different places around the world where he supposedly kills 33 people that are considered threats. Along the way he meets a female agent named Patricia Watson (Julia Roberts) and they share intimate times when they get together but after a while Chuck decides he wants out but Jim tells him that a Mole is lurking about and he should be careful. Chuck gets paranoid about everyone he knows and he becomes a hermit locked up in a hotel room.
This film is directed by George Clooney who use to hang around game shows as a kid and the whole thought that Barris could moonlight as a hitman seemed impossible to ignore for him. I don't think that anyone believes the claim that Barris made and the fact that Charlie Kaufman adapted the screenplay pretty much sums up the reality of this story. But this is still very intriguing and it's an interesting film to look at. The cinematographer is Newton Thomas Sigel who is a veteran and he mixes up the look of the film depending on the time period and location. The early shots in the sixties have the bright colors while the shots in Europe are darker with gray tones. The whole film has a sort of hazy look about it that makes me think that Clooney wanted a film with a kind of stilted view that may also signify that this is based from the imagination of Barris. The performances are all solid and if you were unaware of who Rockwell was than I hope this opens the eyes to everyone about this multi-talented actor. Even Clooney himself is eerily effective as Barris's contact but the two roles that stood out for me was Barrymore's and Rutger Hauer. Barrymore is terrific as the poor girlfriend Penny and she hasn't been this good in several films. After Hauer burst upon the scene in the late 70's through the late 80's he was relegated to basically straight-to-video nonsense and I was pleased that he had a good role in a high profile film. Also, look quickly for Brad Pitt and Matt Damon as Dating Game contestants. This is an intriguing film that is fun to ponder about but it's also one that shows that Barris suffers from deep psychological problems.
This movie is interesting in that it is a very complex story that a man
wrote about himself, that no one seems to know to believe or not. There's
an ensemble cast surrounding Sam Rockwell (playing Barris) that includes
Julia Roberts, George Clooney, and Drew Barrymore, that in no way takes away
from the amazing performance he gives. Rockwell makes a true name for
himself in this film as Chuck Barris.
The visuals are excellent using a mix of lighting and scenery, in combination with a brilliant soundtrack, to portray a man either living two lives or just losing his mind to delusions of fantasy. I personally would be curious to know what in this story is true or not. In addition, has Barris ever had a catscan?
Stylistically self-conscious directorial debut from George Clooney adapted
by Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) from the "is it true"
autobiography by real-life game-show host Chuck Barris (Matchstick Men's Sam
Rockwell, who's great), in which he claims to have been a CIA
One thing about directorial debuts is they're usually fairly self-conscious, as i said (ie, you feel while you're watching it that the director has thought about style too much), but the good thing is they're always passionate. The director is falling in love with the medium for the first time. Often, the energy they put into this one is never again matched. Its what makes Truffaut's first features so exhilirating to watch. Having said all that, the self-consciousness of the style here often works for the story, which is about a guy who made television shows: so often the settings look artificial, like television, and this also fits with the concept of these being Barris' confessions, which are based on memories, which are closer to personal constructions of reality than how things really were. And Clooney's style therefore is suitable.
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind does look great, and its a fun, fast, original movie from Clooney which has garnered a bit of a cult following.
This film is based on the "unauthorised autobiography" of Chuck Barris, a
popular 1970s TV show producer and (he claims) part-time killer for the
I have to admit, I had never heard of Barris before I saw this film and I haven't read the book so I don't know anything more about the man than what is in the film.
The movie is a lot of fun. It's very funny in places and pretty exciting. Actor turned director George Clooney (who's directorial debut this was) shoots with style, and marks himself out as a talented director. The cast was good, particularly Sam Rockwell as Barris, playing an often pretty unlikeable character as a man of great charisma, but suffering from self-loathing.
The scenes portraying Barris' alleged life as a hit-man are shot like a 1960s spy thriller. The artificiality of it all shows that none of the film-maker's really seem to take Barris' claims seriously.
The screenplay, by Charlie Kaufman (of "Being John Malkovich" and "Adaptation." fame) is very funny, but suffers from an unevenness of tone, shifting from comedy, to thriller, to showbiz expose.
This film is no classic, but it is enjoyable. It has it's flaws but it remains funny enough and strange enough to keep viewer's attentions throughout.
I was entertained from start to finish. Maybe Clooney is trying a few tricks as a first time director, but it never seemed heavy-handed. The reviewer on the title page (George Parker) says the movie comes across as a mish-mash of sorts, lacking direction. Wasn't this a big point of the film, that Barris' life was indeed a "muddled mess" as the reviewer says? It seems to me they started watching with a chip on their shoulder that never left...... a Clooney hater from the start perhaps? Parker (our title page reviewer) says the movie "leaves us knowing less about the autobiographer than when it starts". Nothing could be further from the truth. Watch it yourself, and decide for yourself. Please don't let this title page review make up your mind for you..... Parker's review seemed to be just an excuse to write "Gong!". As far as his review goes..... GONG!
Never having been much of a fan of George Clooney, this movie comes as
something of a surprise. He is simply much smarter that his acting
roles would lead one to believe. This is a complex, sophisticated film,
with a sense of style which possesses the hallmarks of an experienced
director at the top of his game.
A particularly smart move and one that certainly demands respect was Clooney's insistence of having Sam Rockwell play the lead, very much against the wishes of the powers that be. It's the first role that really allows Rockwell to expand himself as an actor. Up till this movie he's acquitted himself extremely well in a number of little known movies, chalking up a gallery of likable quirky characters. Clooney must have clearly believed Rockwell capable of much more and in fact staked the entire movie on this.
He was not wrong. Rockwell is one of the most interesting actors of his generation. He plays Chuck Barris with total and natural conviction. He simply becomes Chuck Barris. You cannot ask more from an actor.
Charlie Kauffman's screenplay tends to be somewhat jumbled which hinders the flow of the film. The supporting players are excellent, with even Julia Roberts projecting a subtlety usually not her strongest suite.
Still, despite the parts being so fine, the film a whole is not entirely satisfactory. It's an extremely ambitious first project which nearly comes off.
I know that's only one. Say it twice.
Clooney's directorial debut is pitch perfect...
And Sam Rockwell, as always, shines so bright I had to wear my shades in the darkened theater. He was robbed of an Oscar nomination.
Drew Barrymore delivers one of the best performances of her surprising career.
And man do I hate Julia "Horse Face" Roberts.
And why was this not nominated for an Academy Award for cinematography? I thought Clooney was one of the popular kids...Batman wasn't his fault guys. The cameos felt a little masturbatory, but hey, if I was friends with Matt Damon and Bradd Pitt, I'd put them in my movie, too.
There were even boobs in this one...A little too much of Rockwell's a**, for my taste. At least he had the wherewithall to wax.
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