View Full Version : Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind

01-07-2004, 12:35 AM
In his directorial debut, George Clooney succeeds brilliantly in taking the challenges that an audacious Charlie Kaufman screenplay provides and actually doing something cinematic with it. He uses Kaufman’s bending, shifting, decidedly visual work based on game show impresario Chuck Barris’ autobiography to create an extremely well-crafted, controlled delirium with a haunting rhythm and allows the performers to work in a highly theatrical manner without ever seeming showy or self-indulgent. Barris contends that while producing some of the Sixties’ most iconic television (“The Dating Game”, “The Newlywed Game”) he moonlit as a CIA hit man; while the notion seems incredulous, Clooney never plays it for laughs, instead presenting it as either plausible fact or the delusions of a tormented subconscious that equates the life-long search for sexual gratification with the ability to exterminate real or imagined enemies (including his public). Clooney is aided by inspired work from his gifted crew, including production designer James D. Bissell (whose evocation of the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies is letter-perfect), cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel and editor Stephen Mirrione; combined, they evoke a cluttered, stylized world identifiable both in a historic and psychological sense and who deftly realize Kaufman’s shadings. As an actor, Clooney the director frees his cast to dive into the material with glee but he knows when to show restraint as well: as such, Sam Rockwell, as Barris, has the flailing, intoxicated mannerisms we recognize from the host of “The Gong Show”, yet he’s never an imitation, preferring to focus all his effort into developing the oversized yet immature pathos that Barris’ id seemingly comes to demand; there are also fine performances by Drew Barrymore, Clooney himself and, in her best performance since “Erin Brockovich”, Julia Roberts. Clooney shows chops as a director and he demonstrates a real gravitas that belies his lightweight commercial acting assignments; he’s passionate about this material and his concerned thoughtfulness is steeped into each frame.

Chris Knipp
03-23-2004, 09:14 PM
George Clooney is a very smart man. Those who are misled by the glamorpuss looks are just making one more mistake of judging a book by its cover. This was the movie where I finally "got" it about Charlie Kaufman because not only was it brilliant and convoluted (if in a manner that was more hip in literature thirty years ago: things travel to the screen a little slowly) but a lot of fun. I had a good time, which I didn't in Being John Malkovitch, only slightly did in Adapation. Here it was just wigged out, and the best part of it was that it seemed like most of the audience didn't get it. I admit to that edge of elitism: that I enjoy being the only one who understands, one of the conoscenti. It was amazing to sit in a large cinema full of people in Cairo watching Losey's The Servant and be the only one who got the ironies of the dialogue. I hope more people see Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. It came and went too quickly. It's brilliant. Excellent review by bix171.

03-24-2004, 02:34 AM
You're right on the money about the elitism thing, Chris.

Being the only one who "gets" a movie is a great thing.
People don't realize what they're missing by not paying more attention to what they watch.

I mean, if you're gonna take time out of your life to sit down at home or in a theatre, why not invest your full attention? Shit, films to me are more than just entertainment. I'm usually conscious-to-the-hilt when it comes to movies.

My indignation over the crowd that goes to the movies as "something to do" is quite large. I have more respect for geeks with no lives who see films 24-7 than the hip, jet-setters that are going out to be seen in their finest Tommy Hilfiger.
Hanging out, are ya? Well, you annoy the fuck out of me.

Anybody reading this who sees themselves look out, because if you sit near me and gab about Hillary Duff or how great an actor The Rock is, I might be a tad rude to you.

03-24-2004, 11:38 PM
I enjoyed Confessions, Adaptation, AND Malkovich. What does that make me?

oscar jubis
03-25-2004, 12:51 AM
A Charlie Kaufman fan.