Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind (2002 – Blu-Ray)

“You’re 32 years old, and you’ve achieved nothing. Jesus Christ was dead and alive again by 33. You better get crackin'”

I remember George Clooney’s directorial debut ‘Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind’ getting a few mixed reviews when it was released a decade ago.  In the light of his subsequent successes with last years ‘The Ides Of March’ and 2005’s sublime ‘Good Night, And Good Luck’ and not forgetting star Sam Rockwell’s ascendant star and a script from master craftsman Charlie Kaufman, I thought it high time to investigate.

The movie is based on the autobiography of maverick television producer Chuck Barris (The guy who invented ‘The Dating Game’ aka ‘Blind Date’ in the UK).  In his book, Barris had claimed that all the while he was working at ABC, he was also a top CIA assassin.  Clooney reveals on the DVD extras that he didn’t want to know if this claim was true or not, so he simply didn’t ask Barris, he just filmed the story as fact.  However his directorial eye lends proceedings an air of fantasy with the CIA scenes shot to look like a glamorous Spy movie complete with Julia Roberts as the archetypal James-Bonds-esque femme fatale.  Unfortunately I found these scenes to actually be a lot less interesting than the story of Barris’ exciting television career.  Spys have been done to death but a film about a lunatic TV producer who creates a surreal talent showcase called ‘The Gong Show’ for acts with no talent to actually showcase is a unique one.  Determined to use almost no digital effects, Clooney uses rotating sets and all manner of old-fashioned stage tricks to create a film look where TV fantasy blends with real life.  Sam Rockwell’s performance is outstanding, outlandish, and crazy yet with a dark mysterious depth.  To quote Cilla, ‘Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind’ is a lorah-lorah fun.

Here’s a ‘Best of’ the real Barris presenting ‘The Gong Show’:

And for comparison, here is Sam Rockwell’s hilarious screen test for ‘Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind’:

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