Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
Some things are better left top secret.
Television made him famous, but his biggest hits happened off screen. Television producer by day, CIA assassin by night, Chuck Barris was recruited by the CIA at the height of his TV career and trained to become a covert operative. Or so Barris said.
A coming out party in more ways than one, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind above all proved that Sam Rockwell could anchor whole films. A scene-stealer (or entire-film thief) in Galaxy Quest and Mamet's underrated Heist, Rockwell had already been around for a decade and accumulating a promising resume. He finally had the opportunity to star and he's more than convincing as the enigmatic Chuck Barris. There is never a direct line of thought into Barris' motivations. He is more a prisoner of his own delusions and this adds a level of mystery that in return attracts the need for rewatches. Rockwell is great.
Debut direction by George Clooney is also a welcome surprise. There is an undercurrent of satire…
This was probably my favorite film directed by George Clooney. I usually don't like his direction much, and here it wasn't stellar, but he didn't screw it up too much. Sam Rockwell is excellent in this. He finds a way to be repulsive and adorable at the same time. Drew Barrymore was brilliantly cast, because her warmth and bubly nature gave the film a nice lift whenever she was around. The story was fascinating, but the tone switches so much throughout I kept losing details of the story. Maybe it was just overly ambitious, maybe it was poor execution, but I didn't connect to the story even if I found it very enjoyable. Not Charlie Kaufman's best writing, but it might be Clooney's least aggravating directing.
"I came up with a new game show idea recently. It's called 'the Old Game.' You got three old guys with loaded guns onstage. They look back at their lives, see who they were, what they accomplished, how close they came to realizing their dreams. The winner, is the one who doesn't blow his brains out. He gets a refrigerator."
Writer Charlie Kaufman, and first time director George Clooney, bring us Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, the story of Chuck Barris.
Chuck Barris - songwriter, and creator/host of several popular game shows (the Dating Game, etc) who also had a secret life in which he worked as a hit man for the CIA?
No idea. But it was a fun…
I had to lower my ratings on this film on a rewatch because despite the fact that I still love this film, it does have its flaws to it and the best thing about this film is when it embraces the darkness that it can and will go to because that is the best part about it. The end speech that Chuck Barris gives is one of the darkest things that I have ever heard before and it seems like it fits him. I still wonder and debate if Chuck was full of shit and made all of the CIA stuff up about being a sactioned hit men that was given missions and he would go and carry them out…
I've already said all I've had to say about this film in my last review so I'm just gonna say this...
This isn't the best film Charlie Kaufman wrote, but it's up there. It's definitely his most accesible film so those who don't really like his "strange" approach to his films can probably enjoy this. He did a great job writing, George Clooney did a fantastic job directing in his debut, and Sam Rockwell is excellent in the lead.
So unbelievable is this film that I thought the whole thing was a Fargo style made-up-true-story until I gave Chuck Barris a quick Google search halfway through.
Sam Rockwell is as amazing as ever, a seriously charismatic actor. I could watch him forever and he is truly the king of the 27%ers (those actors whose inclusion in a film makes it 27% better, also see Nathan Fillion and Bryan Cranston). The placement of his name on the poster made me think his appearance was only some kind of cameo (I knew nothing about this before watching it), so I was thrilled to see him as lead. Barrymore is also characteristically charming as the sweet and trusting Penny, and Clooney does…
It's funny how much more successful a film can seem with aditional outside knowledge. An immediate Google unveiled to me that Chuck Barris was a real person, a real TV show host and, if he is to be believed, a real assassin. Suddenly, I'm more willing to forgive the contrivances and conveniences which plague the film. It's still a flawed piece of work, but once you count in Sam Rockwell being bloody marvelous in that way only Sam Rockwell can (In the pantheism of Sam Rockwell performances, it's not vintage, but compared to most other actors floating around Hollywood, it's a real headturner), it's actually worth watching.
So fresh. Sam Rockwell's ridiculously watchable performance is at the centre, but is not the whole, of this unique movie (I personally feel like everything Clooney's directed since has been a bit disappointing and tame by comparison). Daring, moving, scary, funny and sad all at once, and a really interesting true story as well. I don't want to say anything spoilerish, but basically if you like films, you should watch this.
As Clooney's directorial debut, this movie wears its influences on its sleeve. You can pick the Soderbergh moments, the Coen moments, and so on. There's some fantastically striking imagery in this movie, but it often seems afraid to fully commit to its stylistic choices, while at other times it's overly precious about them. It's a competent treatment of a complicated film, but not a confident one. I can definitely see why Kaufman might disown the script, because the finished product reflects very little of his sensibilities. Kaufman's known for deliberate artifice heightening conflicted views of reality, and while that's present in this movie, it often seems misplaced, and is one of those elements the film seems unwilling to commit to. There's none of the boldness with that element that's present in Kaufman's other work.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
I'm not entirely sure what to say about this movie. It's well made, Sam Rockwell gives a great performance, and I love what it is about. There's just something that's missing. Maybe it's because this is Clooney's directorial debut. It was a testing ground for him, and he would use his experience from this movie to make his future films better. That could be it. There's just something missing and I can't figure out what it is.
When Cold War cynicism collides with retro television nostalgia. Stylish and well acted, but something felt off.
It wasn't bad, but the narrative was too erratic. I was expecting more from Kaufman and Clooney.
I'm a big fan of Sam Rockwell at the minute, he's fantastic to watch. Based on the cult memoir of game show impresario Chuck Barris, the story is unbelievable yet brilliant and hilarious. Rockwell plays the role excellently making it really easy to get into the story.
The directorial debut of George Clooney, I really like the style of his films and this felt very close to Leatherheads in that sense. It's stylish without lacking any substance, and he incorporates comedy excellently.
Sam Rockwell is the sole reason to see this movie. I understand that this is Clooney's directorial debut but that doesn't excuse the arbitrary stylistic choices that water down this otherwise very standard biopic. Again though Sam Rockwell is as amazing as always.