Retro Review: Confessions of Dangerous Mind

Was Gong Show host Chuck Barris nuts? Was he a wetworks specialist for the CIA? In the new film, “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” those questions are asked and it is up to you the viewer to decide. Well was he?

Sam Rockwell (“Charlie’s Angels” and “Heist”) stars as enigmatic and infamous game-show creator Chuck Barris. Chuck was one of the biggest television producers of his time. He created long game show staples like “The Dating Game”, “The Newlywed Game” and of course his crown jewel, “The Gong Show”.

Barris wrestles with game show ideas and his love life. Until a reclusive CIA recruiter named Jim Byrd (George Clooney). Byrd assures Barris he has the right goods to be a great hitman. Chuck’s world gets turned upside down when he tries to balance the world of game shows and the world of an elite CIA hitman. What is a Chuck to do?

I have never been a member of the Sam Rockwell fan club. He just seems to be one of those goofy actors who is at the right place at the right time. What is amazing is that Rockwell pulls off his portrayal of Barris as quite a delight. He embodies the character and I really liked him in the role. I especially liked the on-again off-again relationship he has with Drew Barrymore in the film.

The film’s biggest flaw is like that of a lot of films this past year. The film has a massive third act problem which the film’s screen-writer Charlie Kaufman seems to be plagued with. Kaufman had the same problem when he tried to finish the Nicolas Cage vehicle “Adaptation”. Besides a Kaufman script, “Adaptation” and “Confessions” have a lot in common.

There is a lot of delightful dialogue, humor and some great performances but the script or direction don’t seem to know how to finish these movies.

I really enjoyed the film’s humor and biographical element but found the dark tone of the finale and some of the hitman scenes to be quite off putting. It was like they didn’t gel properly with the rest of the movie.

(3 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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