George Clooney (OCEAN'S ELEVEN), Drew Barrymore (CHARLIE'S ANGELS: FULL THROTTLE), and Sam Rockwell (THE GREEN MILE), star in the comedy thriller that poses an irresistible question: What would happen if a wildly successfu... more »l TV producer was also a top-secret CIA assassin? While a maverick creator of America's favorite game shows gains notoriety for his smash television hits, he is also drawn into a shadowy world of danger as a covert government operative! But soon his life begins to spiral out of control -- both of them! Directed by George Clooney and based on Chuck Barris' cult-classic autobiography, with a script by Charlie Kaufman (ADAPTATION), this entertaining hit delivers comedy to keep you laughing . . . and intrigue to keep you guessing!« less
Debbie M. from ALABASTER, AL Reviewed on 7/1/2013...
Very interesting movie - could be believably true! You be the judge -
Who's the mole?
Joseph Haschka | Glendale, CA USA | 12/23/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Close on the heels of his ADAPTATION, screenwriter Charlie Kaufman scores again with CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND, based on the (fictional?) autobiography of the same title by Chuck Barris. It's also George Clooney's initial outing as Director.At the very beginning when the audience sees a bearded and naked Chuck Barris (Sam Rockwell) standing as if in a trance while a frumpy housekeeper vacuums around him, the viewer suspects that the film will be something special, outrageous, or both. This is the starting point for an extended flashback as Barris recalls his young adulthood, when it seemed everybody but him was having sex, to his successful career as a TV game show creator and low-brow polluter of the American airwaves ("The Dating Game", "The Newlywed Game", "The Gong Show"). Pretty standard stuff except that along the way Barris is seduced by a penchant for violence into a double life as a CIA contract killer, and the schizophrenia brought on by his double life almost proves his undoing.Rockwell is superb in the leading role, as is Director Clooney, who plays his square-jawed, no-nonsense CIA recruiter and control, Jim Byrd. (Byrd to Barris: "Listen, you're thirty-two years old and you've achieved nothing. Jesus Christ was dead and alive again by thirty-three. Better get cracking.") Drew Barrymore does a swell job as Penny, the on-again, off-again love of Chuck's life, but she's deliciously upstaged by Julia Roberts in a new sort of character for her, that of the seductive and deadly femme fatale spy, Patricia. ("Prove how much you love me, baby. Kill for me. Then I'm all yours".) Brad Pitt and Matt Damon have hilarious two-second cameos on stools. And there's one scene where a Federal official lectures The Dating Game contestants on the dire repercussions of introducing risqué material into their game show appearance that alone is worth the price of admission. I don't know who that actor was, but he deserves an Oscar for a one-minute speech.This is a movie that perhaps has to be seen twice to be fully appreciated for the deft and clever use of camera perspective, scene and timing changes, and almost-overexposed color, all of which keeps the audience on its toes wondering what's coming next. And the Big Question: who's The Mole?This is one of the best dark comedies that I've seen in a long while. It's one of the must-see films of 2002/2003. Bravo, bravo!"
Not for the average clooney fan
Jameson Rachen | Austin, TX United States | 05/20/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have to admit, I didn't have high hopes for George Clooney's directorial debut. A film based on the psychotic "autobiography" of washed up television game show producer extrodinaire Chuck Barris, revealing his secret life as a CIA contract agent seemed to be a recipe for disaster. Leave it to Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation), sans make-believe twin brother Donald, to create a script so rich with dementia that even Barris himself would be proud. Clooney takes the script and runs with it, and cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel (who I insist must be an alias of Soderberg's, considering their stylistic likeness) and Sam Rockwell's Chuck Barris keep up the pace (and utter mahem) quite nicely.As with all of Kaufman's other screenplays, the audience experiences the rollercoaster of the lead character's psychosis, which Kaufman is truly the master of representing in words. Until Confessions, I don't feel as though any director or cinematographer has truly captured the visuals of Kaufman's mental madness more effectively than Clooney and Sigel. I always thought Terry Gilliam and Kaufman would be a perfect pair considering their similar tendencies toward artist psychosis. Quite possibly because of this, I noticed several similarities between Confessions and Gilliam's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.This is not a film for the average Clooney fans, since it will probably leave them scratching their heads just like Soderberg's Solaris did. Though, at least Confessions does not feature Clooney's naked rear as the center of its mainstream hype, in fact it lacks any mainstream hype at all. This is true indie, art house quality, with stylistic (bordering on experimental) editing and cinematography. It all seems so fabricated, just like the story, despite its use of documentary interviews (which appear less real than the narrative elements) and found footage.The Gong Show, Dating Game and Newleywed Show footage bring back all my childhood television memories of growing up in the 1970's. Confessions is obviously a medium for a critique of U.S. television standards, which haven't changed much since the days of Chuck Barris. U.S. television is still obsessed with its working class culture making fools of themselves on television. We've even taken this to a new level of being "entertained" by "real" (usually lower class) people being chased and arrested on prime time television. And who watches this stuff? Generally the same class of people appearing on screen. How sick is that? According to Confessions, we only have Chuck Barris to blame for "lowering the bar." My only criticism is that Confessions is only preaching to the choir. Its art house, intellectual mentality will make it unapproachable and uncomprehendable for the people that really need to watch and learn, the U.S. working class. Even the best of directors have this problem (Soderberg for example, except for Erin Brokavich which did appeal to the working class audience thanks to Julia Roberts) so I don't hold this against Clooney. Confessions is a movie that would make his past directors, namely Soderberg and the Coen Brothers, proud. Clooney has obviously learned a lot about directing from his acting career, and untilizes everything effectively while creating his own distinct style. Other actors turned directors should watch and learn."
A Very Funny, Star-Packed, and Deeply Disturbed Romp
Greg Robertson | Historic Quincy, MA | 04/03/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A movie that combines "Ocean's Eleven" stars and a core storyline from "A Beautiful Mind" with the TV progenitor of Simon Cowell? It seems unlikely, as does much of the book this film's script was based on, yet it all comes together well in a very weird, but hilarious piece of entertainment.
Sam Rockwell is dead-on as game show producer Chuck Barris, who created not only two staples of American television mediocrity (The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game), but also the "American Idol" of the 1970s -- The Gong Show. The only differences between Barris' production and today's "Idol" are that Barris featured ONLY bad wanna-bes, so there were no recording contracts and such offered, and his judges were a lot funnier, as was he. Of course, viewers were different back then, too, in that they didn't know what to make of a show on which struggling "talent" were verbally abused. Today, that's half of Idol's viewership. In any case, Rockwell's portrayal of him is perfect.
Equally good are Drew Barrymore, as Barris' on-again, off-again, on-again love interest, George Clooney as Barris' supposed CIA handler, and fellow assassin Julia Roberts. In fact, Barrymore is considerably better here than in most of her roles. The appearance of Rutger Hauer also made me laugh, especially given the tough guy roles he used to play. And cameos by Brad Pitt and Matt Damon are priceless.
As for the "A Beautiful Mind" reference, Barris' assertion that he served as a CIA assassin during that period is so absurd that it immediately made me think of the Russell Crowe/Jennifer Connelly film's delusional spy sequences. It's also fitting considering that the central message of Barris' book is that it is immensely painful to have a brilliant mind in early life, yet end up wasting it on developing cheap fodder like "The Dating Game." (Pretty much the story of American televison in general.)
Don't get me wrong -- this is NOT a movie classic. Still, Barris is such a weird yet bright man that the film is fun throughout. And its depiction of this period of TV-making in America is funny, believable, and all too insightful as to how we ended up with the flood of "reality" and game shows that pollute our TV screens today. The film blames Barris, because he did himself, but it's the networks that pushed and paid for this dreck, and still do.
If you have an absurdist bone in your body, you'll at least get several laughs out of this. Enjoy."
Omni | 03/13/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"George Clooney has outdone himself in this film as both an actor and a developer.director of a great film. Sam Rockwell, who shoudln't hav e been overlooked for an Oscar is stellar as well. He's consistently been a fun, twisted actor who takes chances on characters that aren't simple. Julia Roberts plays a really great dark spy in this film and Drew Barrymore plays bubbly and fun.
He's Back With More......STUFF!!
Daniel V. Reilly | Upstate New York, United States | 01/26/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Was Gong Show Host/Creator Chuck Barris really a CIA Assassin with over 33 kills to his credit? Or is he just a little bit insane? Confessions of a Dangerous Mind makes it possible to embrace either possibility.... Starting with his childhood as a pervert-in-the-making, and going all the way until his actual writing of his "Unauthorized Autobiography" in the early eighties, Confessions traces the life of Barris, including his creation of "The Dating Game", "The Newlywed Game", and "The Gong Show", his recruitment and training into the CIA, and his mental breakdown following his career collapse. Sam Rockwell portrays Barris, and does one hell of a job. He has all of the mannerisms and body language down cold; Rockwell deserves an Oscar nomination for his performance. The film is directed by George Clooney, and he puts his years of acting experience to good use; His Directing is flawless, and he fills the screen with surreal images and casts several familiar faces in supporting roles and cameos. So was Barris REALLY an assassin...? Probably not, but the film made me wonder just how implausible that notion really is...."