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Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind [UK Import]
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Chuck Barris träumt schon in frühen Jahren von einer Blitzkarriere im TV-Geschäft. Schöne Frauen, heiße Nächte, das schnelle Geld - all das soll für den bislang an Minderwertigkeitskomplexen leidenden jungen Mann Wirklichkeit werden. Mit den US-TV-Shows "The Dating Game" und "The Gong Show" moderiert er sich in die Herzen der Zuschauer. Sein privates Glück findet er bei Penny. Anscheinend vermisst er den gewissen Kick im Leben, denn er lässt sich auf ein gefährliches Angebot des geheimnisvollen Jim Byrd ein: Chuck wird als Auftragskiller der CIA rekrutiert. Man trifft ihn an den Krisenherden der Welt, er nimmt an Ausbildungscamps teil und trifft auf die Femme fatale Patricia. Doch die Konkurrenz schläft nicht: Plötzlich wird Chuck vom KGB verfolgt und muss feststellen, dass sein Doppelleben zwischen Entertainment und Spionage in Gefahr ist...
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Coupled with an A level cast who seemed to make the story leap off the screen. One may not get any closer to a truth, but Confessions of a Dangerous Mind is a very enjoyable almost two hour thrill ride that won’t leave movie goers bored or disinterested.
The cast of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind are all superb. Heading up the film is Sam Rockwell, who does eerily stunning work capturing the persona & mannerisms of Chuck Barris. He portrays Barris as a veritable con artist, a self-involved, womanizing egotist who eventually descends into paranoia, isolation, and madness. It's an amazing performance. Based on this, I'm genuinely surprised that Rockwell isn't a bigger name. But, of course, in Hollywood talent and fame don't often align with the frequency that they should.
The rest of the cast is also noteworthy. Drew Barrymore plays Penny, the long suffering girlfriend of Barris who puts up with his constant lies & cheating. Clooney himself plays Jim Byrd, the icy CIA agent who recruits Barris. Julia Roberts portrays Patricia, a seductive spy who serves as Barris' contact in the field. Now, I am generally not a fan of Roberts' work. However, watching her here, I was actually impressed. It was interesting to see her in a darker, more cynical role than she usually plays. She certainly did fine work with it. Rounding out the cast is the amazing, underrated Rutger Hauer. His character Keeler is a philosophizing veteran hitman who befriends Barris. It's always a pleasure to see Hauer on the screen. Even when cast in a relatively small supporting role such as this, he gives it his all, turning in a charismatic performance.
At first, I was genuinely surprised to learn that Confessions of a Dangerous Mind was a box office bomb. I thought it was an amazing film, and so did my girlfriend. But reflecting on it, I quickly realized that the movie is not easily classifiable. It starts off as a comedy, but then transitions into a dark, disturbing look at a rather unlikable man living a double life who gradually experiences a mental breakdown. Is it supposed to be humorous or somber? Well, both. But I think that for many viewers, who like to compartmentalize their entertainment into comfortable, easily absorbed categories, a film such as Confessions of a Dangerous Mind can be a turn off, as it straddles so many genres.
I definitely recommend giving this movie a try. It really is an amazing film. Myself, I'm looking forward to watching it again.
When I heard it was being made into a feature film I was ecstatic, as I was always a fan of Barris. Overall this adaptation is quite good, but a good deal more depressing that I would have liked. Even the book, which has been recently re-released, is considerably more upbeat than the film. In his directorial debut, George Clooney acquits himself quite well. The film has an almost film noir feel to it, though I feel it's taken to extremes, for example in Julia Roberts' costumes: they scream 'cold war' so loudly, you might for a moment forget that you aren't watching Rocky and Bullwinkle chase Boris and Julia Roberts hither and yon.
The sets and locations are brilliant (for more on this, I highly recommend a viewing with the commentary turned on) and do accurately convey the era. The technical aspects of the film are brilliantly executed. Visual effects (mostly done 'in camera', i.e. not through cuts or editing) are superior. Particularly impressive is the 'rotating set' technique, which is explained in one of the special features. The sound editing is particularly noteworthy as well. The expression of unseen activities and moods through sound in this film is breathtaking, particularly in the pool scene late in the film.
Acting here is generally first rate: Sam Rockwell nails the Barris mannerisms, and Clooney is brilliant as the never smiling CIA recruiter. Drew Barrymore does yeoman's work in one of the more complex parts in the movie, and veteran Rutger Hauer is in peak form in a psychologically difficult part. The only performance I was not fond of was that of Julia Roberts, who, through a combination of direction and native acting abilities, came across as cartoonish, and distinctly less believable than the rest of the ensemble.
This is a fascinating and disturbing movie, a film that is more a psychological thriller than anything else. The DVD comes with some great extras, including deleted scenes, and an excellent audio commentary. It also comes with a short feature titled "The Real Chuck Barris Documentary", which is a gem and an absolute treasure for fans. Although the film was darker than I would have liked, it was generally well acted and directed, with innovative plot twists worthy of a story of intrigue and espionage.
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