Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind (2002)

(In theaters, January 2003) Hmm. A real-life game show producer (Chuck Barris) writes “an unauthorised autobiography” in which he invents a shadowy secret life for himself: TV executive by day, CIA hired killer by night. The demands and women of both of his life take their toll on him. Sounds fascinating? It ought to have been, but unfortunately the screenwriter (Charlie Kaufman, yes, of Adaptation and Being John Malkovich fame) and director (George Clooney, yes, the actor) adapt the book in a wholly weird and stylised fashion. It could have worked, but the lead character in the tale (Barris, well-played by Sam Rockwell) turns out to be a highly repulsive protagonist. While it’s difficult to fault anyone (least of all Clooney, who exhibits some competency with the camera), the film itself sorts of falls flat. It feels like a series of vignettes rather than a flowing story. Julia Robert’s character, for instance, turns up in four or five scenes, but is supposed to be an important part of Barris’ life. It doesn’t click, and ultimately, neither does the film. The humour quotient is low and the interest level flags intermittently. I wasn’t asking for another True Lies, but at least True Lies managed to hold together all the elements it was given. Make no mistake: Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind is an interesting experiment… but not a completely successful one.

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