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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Sam Rockwell
George Clooney
Drew Barrymore
Julia Roberts.
Directors
George Clooney.
Screenwriters
Charlie Kaufman.
Running Time
113 minutes

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Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
Triumphant directorial debut for Clooney


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Plot
TV producer/host Chuck Barris leads a double life. When not creating the cult anti-talent search series The Gong Show or The Dating Game (the inspiration for Blind Date in the UK), he's a globe-trotting CIA assassin. But falling ratings and murderous treachery make him wonder just who he can trust. Based on a true story — but is it real?


Review
While shooting his directorial debut, Orson Welles said it was like playing with the world's biggest train set. Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind may not be in the Citizen Kane class, but George Clooney's first foray behind the camera does boast similarly bravura technique and an infectious sense of joy in the filmmaking process.

Like his regular collaborators, Soderbergh and the Coens, Clooney gleefully draws upon every cinematic trick in the book to make every frame count. This wizardry isn't a case of auteur-poseur, however. The film's eclectic style is ideally suited to its schizophrenic content, as hero Chuck Barris reflects on his dual life as game show czar and CIA assassin. It's the kind of bizarre tale you'd expect from Charlie Kaufman, but this isn't an Adaptation-style adaptation: the screenplay is actually pretty faithful to the autobiography in which Barris first made his outlandish claims.

The movie triumphs by giving equal dramatic weight to the ratings war and the Cold War – the network and the wet work. Sam Rockwell is compelling as Barris ("A nice guy, even though he's a prick"), but sometimes seems dazzled by the sheer star wattage assembled around him. As the CIA handler, Clooney plays it as straight as is possible when sporting a quiff and beautifully groomed moustache, while Barrymore is hugely endearing as the sexually adventurous, emotionally vulnerable woman who shares Chuck's life but not his secrets.

Even Rutger Hauer shines, escaping straight-to-video hell to remind the world just how good he was in Blade Runner. Best of all, however, is Julia Roberts, a revelation as cynical, glamorous, decadent femme fatale Patricia – her idea of flirting is to inform Barris, "You're not like the other murderers." Under normal circumstances, you might say she steals the movie, but there's no doubt that the plaudits here belong to the director.


Verdict
Hilarious and thrilling, playfully sexy and emotionally involving, this is sophisticated entertainment, which also marks the emergence of George Clooney, filmmaker. It remains to be seen whether he'll mature like Eastwood or fade like Costner, but this is a triumphant debut.


Reviewed by Rob Fraser

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
Empire Star Rating

Really cool movie. Sam Rockwell is fantastic! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by nc_jj at 01:37, 15 January 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

Great Film. Rockwell is ace and Clooney has proved himself to be a very good director. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by shool at 11:45, 03 September 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind

A fine performance by Rockwell (pretty much a guaranteed thing) and assured and confident directing by Clooney.  I enjoyed it but somehow it seemed like it should have been better and somthing semed to be missing, but I can't quite identify what it was. ... More

Posted by sanchia at 11:01, 09 June 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind

L: matthewforan This is a really fantastic underrated film, one of my favourite performances as well. Rockwell is fantastic really special performance from the guy. Just a shame he's never really done much since. I'd love to see the Clooney behind the camera with Rockwell starring again because they seem to work well together. The fact that I even enjoyed a Drew Barrymore performance speaks volumes for the film and Clooney's ability to get more out of his actors. Great film 4/5 ed h... More

Posted by filmburner30 at 15:16, 08 June 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind

I think it's a triumph, especially for someone's debut feature.  The book is difficult to read, much less adapt, and the fact that Clooney managed it is a sign of his talents. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Mozza at 20:49, 07 June 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind

This is a really fantastic underrated film, one of my favourite performances as well. Rockwell is fantastic really special performance from the guy. Just a shame he's never really done much since. I'd love to see the Clooney behind the camera with Rockwell starring again because they seem to work well together. The fact that I even enjoyed a Drew Barrymore performance speaks volumes for the film and Clooney's ability to get more out of his actors.   Great film 4/5 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by matthewforan at 20:33, 07 June 2007 | Report This Post


Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind

I enjoyed it, Rockwell gave a great performance, and Clooney made an assured debut as a director, to be honest I found this to be a far better film than Good Night, And Good Luck which I thought was almost too painfully po faced and worthy to qualify as what you might call an enjoyable movie going experience.     A shame Rockwell hasn't much of equal note since... ... More

Posted by Indio at 19:59, 07 June 2007 | Report This Post


Far better than I expected. Hilarious and a bit meaningful at the same time, and showing once again just how awesome Sam Rockwell is ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Bezerker at 19:33, 07 June 2007 | Report This Post


Far better than I expected. Hilarious and a bit meaningful at the same time, and showing once again just how awesome Sam Rockwell is ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Bezerker at 19:33, 07 June 2007 | Report This Post


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