(May 2003 - March 2007.) Tama's thoughts on the blogosphere, podcasting, popular culture, digital media and citizen journalism posted from a laptop computer somewhere in Perth's isolated, miniature, urban jungle ...

Thursday, July 17, 2003
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
(and the emerging Ocean's Elite)

George Clooney's directorial debut Confessions of a Dangerous Mind marks him not only as a talented director but also as an emerging Hollywood heavyweight worth keeping a close eye on. In the wake of Ocean's Eleven, it became apparent that there was a group of Hollywood friends who could crank out films replete with an amazing array of big stars without the usually associated bank-breaking pay checks. Many of the Ocean's Elite are back together in some form in this film: Clooney as director; Julia Roberts as the delightfully evil Patricia; Steven Soderbergh as producer (with an obvious guiding influence over Clooney's directorial style); and Matt Damon and Brad Pitt in delightfully small cameos (watch carefully!). While I wonder if Julia Roberts is going to try and helm a film soon and call in the same favours, for now, the Ocean's Elite all do wonderfully in Confessions.

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind focuses on tells the story of Chuck Barris, played brilliantly by Sam Rockwell. Barris' own fictional autobiography provided the impetus for the story, but screenwriter extraordinaire Charlie Kaufman (of Being John Malkovich and Adaptation fame) has made this story a major screen event. Confessions chronicles Barris' parenting of the lowbrow gameshows The Dating Game and The Gong but also tells the other story of his supposed life as a CIA hitman. Clooney plays the enigmatic CIA recruiter Jim Byrd with finesse. Rutger Hauer also makes a far better than usual appearance as Keeler, a German agent who shares Barris' boyish excitement for killing. The central cast is rounded out by Barris' sweet love interest Penny (Drew Barrymore). Barrymore and Rockwell were last seen together in the first Charlie's Angels flick, but manage to completely rework their dynamic for this film. This fine cast works wonder in bringing Barris' story to life, but the guiding hand of Clooney must be applauded loudest. His fine cast is pushed to give their best work, while the shooting itself is pristine; Soberbergh's influence evident in the wonderful use of colour and perfectly framed shots. The game show sets themselves also work wonderfully, in large part due to Clooney having grown up around these surrounds.

Overall, Confessions is simply a gem: well written, well directed, filled out with an amazing cast and telling a wonderfully familiar story which is still stamped with the originality of real talent driving the show.


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