October 20, 2013

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

George Clooney, 2002

Ambitious television producer Chuck Barris (Sam Rockwell) who created The Gong Show and The Dating Game also moonlights as a CIA operative assassin in this film directed by George Clooney and a screenplay written by Charlie Kaufman. Based on a memoir written by Barris.

Sam Rockwell is a good choice for Chuck Barris. Barris is sort of an unassuming figure. At one point in the film Jim Byrd (Clooney) says to Chuck: "You're a fairly bright guy. You'll figure it out". And that sort of sums up a lot about Chuck. He has the drive, there's no doubt about that. But his youth was full of rejection, and that never really subsided. And life isn't necessarily timed perfectly. When he finally meets the girl who is sincerely attracted to him, Chuck has a lot of fires burning. He wasn't exactly thrilled to take on the job working for the CIA, but does anyway without much defiance. And that's why Jim chose him anyway. He fit the profile. What was the profile? Probably a softy loner who wasn't going to stand out. Someone who nobody really looks at twice. Someone who is quite forgettable. Not one to solicit a second glance. Someone perfect for Sam Rockwell, who is no stranger to playing the "also-ran" type of character.

The film at times offers a taste of classic film noir. At other times its more of a character study. And other times it feels like a black comedy mixed with a crime drama. Clooney is quite capable in the director's chair, there's no doubt about that. The scene where the camera pans while introducing the various contestants really gives the feeling its all one continuous shot. The cinematography by Newton Thomas Sigel plays with a lot of color, at times an absence of it. There's a certain stylistic quality to the film that at times feels almost Sin City-like. You get a sense that the entire film has a lot of skillful people behind the camera, and it's realized quite early on that everyone in front of the camera is more than capable. It's not going to be a film for everyone, and it's certainly not Kaufman's best screenplay, but it's a film that should certainly be appreciated for the production-value.

No comments:

Post a Comment