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Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2003)

Action & Adventure movie directed by George Clooney

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Excellent performances!!!

  • Sep 9, 2003
  • by
This is a pretty "offbeat" movie, to say the least. For many modern day viewers younger than 25 or so, Chuck Barris will be pretty much unknown to them. But for those of us who remember THE GONG SHOW or THE DATING GAME, it's a real treat. That's not to say that young people won't enjoy it, I just think they'll miss out on some of the fun.

The movie delves into the mad fantasies of Barris, and it never speculates on whether his "autobiography" is true or not. Was he really a hitman for the CIA? Well, it seems pretty darn unlikely, but it is presented here as though it is true. But we also see that Barris slowly goes mad. Is he deluded (like the lead in A BEAUTIFUL MIND) or is he just having fun with his readers / audience, or was it all true. We don't know, and director Clooney doesn't give us the info we need to decide. Therefore the movie has a slightly unfinished feeling, but I'm sure that was intentional.

The best parts of the movie are the Oscar-worthy performance by Sam Rockwell, and the delightful turn from Drew Barrymore. Drew is a charming actress with a limited range (see DONNIE DARKO for the limits of that range). She is sweet, sexy, vulnerable and loveable in this movie, as Barris' much abused girlfriend. I really think it may be her best "serious" work. Rockwell is a revelation. I remembered him pretty well from THE GREEN MILE, but I think it's great that Clooney was savy enough to pick this guy. He has a great look for the part, and he totally emerses himself in the role. It's a performance that runs just about every emotional range, and the viewer goes right along with him. If the movie had done better, I think Rockwell might have been an Oscar contender. It's a shame he was overlooked.

Clooney does a very competent job as director, and I think it's great that he tackled such an offbeat project. He doesn't take it too seriously, yet there is lots of loving period detail that makes the tone seem just right. His performance is adequate if a bit generic. He's another actor with limited range (see SOLARIS...if you dare), but he puts a nice twist on his charm as a villain in this movie. Julia Roberts has a smallish role, and frankly, she is pretty bland. Compared to the high-spirits and zest for life of Drew Barrymore's character, Roberts just isn't believable as someone Barris would chuck everything for. I'm not the biggest Julia fan, but even I can admit that when she's on target, she is quite effective. In this movie, I feel like she was just doing her buddy George a favor by showing up to work, but hadn't even bothered to read the rest of the script.

But, that being said, all in all, I highly recommend this movie for mature movie goers. Kids will hate it, but for an adult who doesn't mind stretching the bounds just a smidge, it should be a nice, light treat.

Also, as an aside, the final shot of the movie is a real humdinger. Clooney is to be congratulated for thinking of it!

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More Confessions of a Dangerous Min... reviews
review by . September 12, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
George Clooney shows yet another aspect of his interesting career in the movies by stepping into the shoes of Director for the strangely, absurdly interesting CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND. Much of the feel of the biopic of Chuck Barris' life and times as an on-the-edge talent who gave us The Gong Show and The Dating Game is tongue in cheek or surreal or film noir (is the CIA assassin bit for real?). There is a small statement at the inception of this prolonged purview of Barris' life that claims …
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I've got my own site,, on which I'm posting my reviews. I am 46 years old, married 25 years, two kids (23 & 18) and currently work in accounting/finance. I spent 15 years … more
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About this movie


The memoirs of game-show creator-host Chuck Barris (the man responsible forThe Newlywed GameandThe Gong Show) are the inspiration for this sneaky biopic, which not only covers Barris's television career, but also his exploits--unsubstantiated, but also not disproved--as a government assassin. As Barris, Sam Rockwell gives a gutsy, manic-depressive, warts-and-all performance, depicting how Barris cheated repeatedly on his longtime girlfriend Penny (Drew Barrymore), was recruited into the CIA by a stone-faced agent (George Clooney, who also makes a stylish directorial debut), created some of the most popular yet reviled TV shows of the 1970s and '80s, and had a torrid affair with a mysterious, beautiful operative (Julia Roberts). For a screenplay by Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich,Adaptation),Confessions of a Dangerous Mindis pretty straightforward, letting Barris's fevered brain speak for itself. The result manages to be lurid, comic, and oddly philosophical.--Bret Fetzer
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Director: George Clooney
Screen Writer: Chuck Barris, Charlie Kaufman
DVD Release Date: September 9, 2003
Runtime: 113 minutes
Studio: Miramax Films
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