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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blindate with a hitman, 15 Nov. 2003
This review is from: Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
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 game-show concepts many a time.
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.
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