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3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5 out of 5 stars
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on 1 March 2004
I went to see this with some trepidation. George Clooney has certainly racked up a fair amount of screen time and A-list pals, but directing is, after all, a whole different kettle of fish. I was, however, pleasantly relieved/surprised by Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. It's pretty darn slick for a directorial debut and George Clooney has certainly been paying attention over the years, especially to his friends the Cohen brothers and Steven Soderbergh. Chuck Berry's controversial story is engagingly told, cameos from afore mentioned A-listers aren't too 'look at me!' and the whole cast turn in good performances. Although the film is faithful to Chuck Berry's version of events, (he claims to have been a government assassin whilst presenting junk-TV game shows) there room left for doubt. In short, this film is pretty entertaining and pretty classy - worth seeing.
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on 23 January 2013
I'm writing this review to get some balance against the only other (at the time of writing) review. Sam Rockwell is the business. As you can tell I'm a fan but I couldn't imagine anybody but him bringing this story alive. It's got a dark comic mood that runs through it that is captivating. I don't know if these events really happened to Chuck Barris but if they did...what a life! Blu ray is blu ray what do you expect - it's clearer than dvd!!
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on 9 November 2015
This film can't make up its mind what it wants to be - satire, black comedy, conspiracy thriller, farce, or expose of sleazy American TV game shows. It really is all over the place all of the time. In addition, it's hard to have any kind of sympathy for any of the characters or care about what happens to them. In fact I kept wishing that they would all just get killed in the number one hobby now sweeping the USA - a massive gunfight.
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on 15 November 2003
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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on 7 March 2004
This was the best film I saw of all last year, and boy do I watch a lot of films. Actually, I work in a cinema so I'm sort of paid to watch films, but man, was this the best one! I can't remember the last time I saw such a cool, witty, original, hypnotic movie, with a perfectly picked cast and an astounding script (by, of course, the inimitable Charlie Kaufman).
George Clooney's first diretorial venture is so solid it's hard to believe he hasn't done it before, but what's even harder to believe is the way in which he really made the movie the tough way - the film is psychadelically layered and The Graduate standard in it's dramatic scene turns - but Clooney used no CG, and everything was done on rotating stages, bullet-fast costume changes and immaculate timing. The end result is a film that has every bit the feel of a grand, sinister theatre porduction, and the performances to back it. Sam Rockwell: what can you say? He's more like Chuck Barris than Chuck himself, and he plays the 'cool hitman' and 'psychopathic game show host' in violent measures of realism and prepsterousness. Julia Roberts is sexy and as frightening as a pair of scissors next to your groin as Barris's confedant in Russia. Clooney is great and mysterious as Barris's mentor, and Drew Barrymore is.. well, she almost acts in this one. Bless her, she does try.
The music in the film is as unpredictable and weird as the scene changes and Gong Show Contestants themselves, and the cinematography is immaculate all the way through, taking the viewer directly into Barris's warped and tortured mind. Man, there isn't enough good things I can say about this absolute gem of a movie. It's like the movie version of a successful bank robbery, or the feeling you get from watching your sister's seventeen year old best friend getting naked through the bathroom keyhole.. so to speak.
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on 3 July 2005
I wanted to watch see this film because it featured Sam Rockwell and George Clooney, two excellent actors, and so many film reviews recommended it.
Sam and George did not disappoint, plus several other familiar actors. It is a well constructed film - the scenes, the acting, the way the story is told, the camera angles, lighting, etc make it a satisfying film to watch - probably worth 4 or 5 stars.
However, I'm not sure the film subject will appeal to all - it's about the wierd life of a tv entrepreneur/game show host. If this real life character, Chuck Barris, is someone you've heard of, then I should imagine this film will be fascinating.
But I found it difficult to muster any empathy or interest for him or any of the other characters - hence 3-star rating, not 4 or 5. Reminded me a bit of The Talented My Ripley - good quality film, but no heroes - which is fine, but not to everyone's taste.
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on 7 May 2014
This film bombed at the box office for good reason. It is not very good, Clooney in his first directorial debut uses too many styles and does not control the direction properly. They should not have let Barris be involved in the film since his story is obviously false and delusional.
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on 30 November 2005
...Welcome to George Clooney's directorial debut - and what a cracker it is! It deals with the life story of Chuck Barris, memorable TV host and game show creator who was also, apparently, a spy on the side.
Played incredibly well by Sam Rockwell, Barris comes across as quirky, loveable and a bit of a scoundrel. The film is filled with plenty of humour, sly wit and at times is darkly comic, which not only represents the manic style that Rockewell usually presents, but is also a product of Clooney, who has a wickid sense of humour.
But the humour doesn't get in the way of the serious storytelling. The game show side of the story is the more entertaining, and funny, and while it doesn't hold back on the spy life Barris supposedly held, its a bit wish-washy. The CIA undercover agent is not as clear as his game show host character, and the film does falter a bit here when it dwells on the spy operations.
But just when you might be getting bored, Clooney sweeps you back into attention with humour, and style and with some great cuts between scenes that see characters come in and out of different scenes which were actually filmed all in one take.
Filled with cameo appearances, in-jokes, great performances, this is a great debut for Clooney, and more would indeed be welcome. The DVD extras here contain interesting behind the scenes looks, with Clooney being very informative and honest. For those of you who don't know the real Chuck Barris then there is also a short featurette on the guy.
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on 28 August 2015
A fun ride into the bizarre.Not to be taken too seriously though and great acting overall...
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on 18 September 2014
Havnt watched film yet but case was broken when it arrived
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