Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002)

I'm still on the insane quest to watch every single movie Sam Rockwell has made and, among all those I haven't seen yet (I'm planning on watching some I've already seen, The Green Mile to made one, that I haven't reviewed), I picked Confessions of a Dangerous Mind because this is George Clooney's directorial debut and Charlie Kaufman wrote it. Most important though, I liked the title.

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind depicts the life of popular game show host and producer Chuck Barris (Sam Rockwell) who, at the height of his career, was recruited by the CIA as a contract killer. Well, at least that's what he said.

Anyhow, I had never heard of Chuck Barris nor his story before and I found the story interesting, engaging and entertaining. Only at first though. A little after the CIA subplot makes its entrance, the plot loses its grip and focus, and it feels incredibly dragged. It still takes some interesting turns and twists, but it's quite tedious and barely watchable.

The characters aren't that better. While the flawed and quirky characters of Chuck Barris and Jim Bryd, the CIA agent who recruited Barris, are well developed --that's what Kaufman does best, after all--, the others have no substance, and it kinda feels like Kaufman didn't even want them in the movie. Also, it's hard to care about these people. I just can't believe the man behind Being John Malkovich and Adaptation. wrote this.
That said, there's something about Confessions of a Dangerous Mind that makes it worth watching. It's the acting. Sam Rockwell gives another of his underrated performances as Chuck Barris. He brings so much energy, charisma and humour to the role and captures the paranoia and fulfilment of the character very well. Also good is George Clooney's performance as mysterious CIA agent Jim Bryd. He doesn't have a lot of screen time but definitely gets the best out of it. Drew Barrymore and Julia Roberts, on the other hand, are just watchable. It's not their fault though, not completely. They were just given poorly written and underused characters, that's all.

Another solid-ish aspect of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind is Clooney's direction. The film is kinda stylish and has a surrealist and comedic tone that works well with Barris's supposedly true story. 


  1. Qui Clooney era ancora "acerbo" come regista e il film è un po' discontinuo. Tuttavia è una pellicola piuttosto anticonvenzionale e per nulla scontata, un "oggetto filmico" strano ma interessante. Dovrei rivederlo, ma ricordo che all'epoca mi fece una buona impressione...

    1. Sarà che non mi fa impazzire la regia di Clooney.

  2. Well, there's a reason why the film is a mixed bag. Clooney ended up re-writing the script and against Kaufman's will. It wanted to be all sorts of things although I'm not sure any of these stories that Barris had said are true. Sam Rockwell is great although it's a flawed film. Plus, I remember this story that a guy I knew at this old record store we hung out at talked about going to a screening. He watched the film and the scene of Rockwell being shown butt-naked. A woman was screaming... "OOH-WEE, THAT'S A NICE BUTT FOR A WHITE BOY!"