An Unauthorized Autobiography
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
Review by Ross Anthony

What an odd film this is. A seeming autobiography of Chuck Barris (host of the Gong Show) with a screenplay from Charlie Kaufman of "Being John Malkovich"and "Human Nature." I absolutely love Kaufman's work, so it makes perfect sense that I'd love this piece as well. Certainly with Chuck and Charlie conspiring on a production -- you can be darned sure it'd be odd. But true? I don't know, I don't care. Doesn't matter to me whether or not that scrawny, curly-topped, Confessions of a Dangerous Mindpun-spewing producer was moonlighting as a CIA assassin -- either way the story and the story behind the story are incredibly curious.

But my praise doesn't stop here. Oh no, yes the source material is fertile and juicy, but George Clooney's direction is nothing less than spectacular. The construction, camera movement, scene transitions, acting, pace are all superb. A masterfully constructed work. And the Cinematography-- absolutely top-notch. Gorgeous images, tightly freshly framed. The colors and lighting are all carefully appropriately set. Wahoo!

But, wait there's more ... the score accents the images and solid acting with a keen sense of what is funny and what is more dramatic. This is one sweetly actualized film. A solid A. Flaws? Only two minor blemishes. The first, a coffee swapping scene, I felt just didn't work. Secondly, I could have used a harder hitting climax.

Else, I loved it. If you don't mind the odd, go see it.

Barris on one of his mindless TV hits, "The show is based on the idea that every American would sell out their spouse for a kitchen appliance or a lawnmower you can ride."

Clooney says, "I've never really wanted to direct, but I loved the project and believed that I knew how to tell the story." He goes on, "I've asked Chuck about the specifics of the story, and he would look me in the eyes and not say anything. I believe it is Chuck's story. I believe it was important for him to tell it and fun for us because the story is so wild. There is something shockingly fascinating about someone of his wealth and fame who would want to say this about himself. Whether it's true or not is in Chuck's head."

  • Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. Copyright © 2002. Raged R.
  • Starring Sam Rockwell, Drew Barrymore, Julia Roberts, George Clooney.
  • Directed by George Clooney.
  • Screenplay by Charlie Kaufman based on the book by Chuck Barris.
  • DP: Newton Thomas Sigel, ASC.
  • Music: Alex Wurman.
  • Produced by Andrew Lazar at Miramax/Mad Chance/Section 8.


Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:16:54 PDT