Movie Review: Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002)

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Biographical pictures (Or Bio-pics for you lazy folks) is one of the touchiest subjects within movies. People always complain “Ugh, that shit didn’t actually happen!” or “He wasn’t like that, you portrayed him wrong!”. I can see why people have a tendency to complain about things like that. So that is why I have chosen to look at movies from the standpoint of seeing it as a movie and judging it as a movie rather than judge it based on how exact it is to the actual events portrayed. So let’s look at a bio-pic that seems like it couldn’t have been real in any way. But in some aspects it apparently was…

Ladies and gentlemen… “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind”.

This movie is about ascent and eventual decline of game show host and alleged CIA hitman Chuck Barris (Sam Rockwell). We get to see his life from his point of view as he tries to become a big and respected guy within the media industry while also being a hitman hired by Jim Byrd (George Clooney). We also get a look into his personal life with his girlfriend/future wife Penny (Drew Barrymore). The way this story is shown is through a mix of seeing the actors do what they are paid and then at a few points we get to see interviews with some people who have actually met Chuck. And all this help conjure up a very interesting and unconventional plot. I was very entertained by the plot of this movie and I loved seeing how it unfolded in this very unconventional style.

The characters are all very colorful, realistic and amazingly written. They all feel like real people in this big web of deception and entertainment. And I am so happy to say (like most times) that Sam Rockwell gives a terrific performance in this movie. He really brings Barris to life with a lot of energy, style and humanity. I mean, he shines in the scenes where he gets to show a lot of emotion in one way or another. And I can safely say that all actors in the movie were great.

The odd thing about this movie is that there is no original score for the movie. Usually you can find at least a few tracks that a composer has created, but there is no real “original score”. On the otehr hand there are a lot of licensed tracks from the era(s) that the movie is set in (Sidenote: The movie is set during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s). And the music used in the movie fits every scene perfectly and just helps set the mood throughout the movie. I loved listening to the music throughout.

This movie was directed by George Clooney and holy shit is it well-directed. I find it difficult to comprehend the fact that this was Clooney’s directorial debut. It is stylish and got a lot of falir and energy in it’s direction.  One example I can give where the direction combined with music and acting just shined and resonated deeply with me was a scene in the movie where Chuck was looking at his life a bit while “Can’t help falling in love with you) by Elvis was played in the background. That scene was just great. And after a little bit of research I found out one interesting thing about the real life story; Barris may or may not have made up the fact that he killed people for CIA… but I don’t care. He wrote it in his book, it made it into the movie and it made the plot a whole lot more interesting. Like I said, I judge the movie as a movie rather than judging it as a real life story. Just thought the fact could be fun to mention.

This movie was pretty well-received even if it didn’t do great at the box office. On Rotten Tomatoes the movie has a 79% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 67/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie a score of 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,1/10.

“Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” has an unconventional and interesting plot with great writing, great acting, great use of music, splendid direction from George Clooney. Time for my final score. And the winner is… this one. My final score for “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” is a 9,84/10. It of course receives the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
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“Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” is finally reviewed.

I am usually not a guy who tries to push my opinion onto people, but I feel like my thoughts on bio-pics are the way to go. Don’t believe it’s a good idea? Go watch John Flickster explain it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rI8HFD_YVw

 

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