confessions of a dangerous mind

Saw Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, the George Clooney-directed Chuck Barris biopic.

This film should be a star-making turn for Sam Rockwell, who is superb as Barris. I’m too young to remember most of his shows, although I’ve certainly seen repeats of old Gong Show and The Newlywed Show episodes here and there. Drew Barrymore is very good also, as Penny, his long-time lover and wife, in a subdued, grounding role. George Clooney and Julia Roberts show up as his spy contacts, and there are a few cameos by other celebs too (the notable being Brad Pitt & Matt Damon as The Dating Game contestants).

There’s definitely something of Steve Soderburgh here, who I believe is the producer, in the slow, almost melodic pacing of the film, and the stylized cinematography, that creates a lovely, ethereal look to everything (also a smart choice were the ultra-washed-out interview segments with real people who worked for and with the real Chuck Barris), but George Clooney brings his own laid-back-cool to the director’s chair. The film’s pacing really seemed to match his coolest characters (think E.R.,Out of Sight & Ocean’s Eleven). It felt much like I was watching him tell a story. Which is good, in that it really worked, but perhaps bad, if you think that a director should be invisible (of course, all my favourite directors are people who you can watch a 10-minute segment of any film and identify it as theirs, so I guess I like it when their personality shines through).

What was really well done about this film is that there was no condescension towards Barris. Whether or not it was real was left up to the viewer to decide (although the echoes of A Beautiful Mind made me think of schizophrenia), rather than out-and-out stating that yes, indeed, he was a secret agent or no, he was just loopy.

so go see it!