Outstanding: Rockwell as “delusional” BarrisConfessions of a Dangerous Mind is based on the memoirs of the American TV producer, Chuck Barris (played by Sam Rockwell). During the 60s and 70s, Barris was responsible for low-brow game shows such as The Gong Show and The Dating Game (the inspiration for our very own Blind Date.) On a more interesting note, Barris claims that at the same time he was producing such shows, he worked as a CIA assassin.
The director, one George Clooney, makes it clear he considers Barris delusional. The scenes in which the protagonist carries out his hits are absurd and clichéd, occurring in shadowy back streets and dusty Mexican villages. Since Barris invents so many of the scenes, the picture is drained of tension. The only dangerous thing about Barris’s mind is his questionable taste in tuxedoes. In his fantasies, Barris imagines himself as a swashbuckling hero dispatching bad guys and seducing femme fatales.
Most interesting is understanding why Barris fantasises. We soon realise he is full of self-loathing. He considers himself to be an intellectual, yet can only produce trash TV, and finds it impossible to stay faithful to his loving girlfriend.
Oscar winner Charlie Kaufman’s screenplay is sharp and Sam Rockwell outstanding, giving Barris a strange kind of slimy charisma. And George Clooney’s debut as a director? Well, Clooney the director is much like George Clooney the actor: smooth, good looking, and just a little bit smug.