Movie review: Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

Few events are more outlandish than a maniacal game show host who becomes a high-profile killer for the CIA. Based on a true story, “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” a movie released in 2002 and the directorial debut of George Clooney, weaves a gruesome and entertaining story.

For people who have more than a passing familiarity with movies, screenwriter Charlie Kaufman paves the way for imaginative storytelling and mind-bending plots, qualities which were certainly not missing from “Confessions.” His most noted works include “Being John Malkovich,” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” and “Synecdoche, New York.”

The movie follows Chuck Barris, an American game show creator, producer, and host. Those unfamiliar with the name may be better acquainted with such shows as “The Dating Game,” or “The Gong Show” – both of which are Barris creations. The setting starts in bustling Manhattan during the 1960s. Many of Barris’ friends and colleagues make appearances in the movie to contribute to the understanding of this man and his bizarre story. This adds a pleasant touch to the narration of the movie because the viewer is constantly reminded that these events are purported to be true. Whether it’s ABC picking up Barris’s pilot for “The Dating Game” or the same person living the lucrative life of a killer-for-hire, the insights of the friends and coworkers ground the plot in reality.

Relevant details of the storyline were also incorporated very well. Since the foundational plot (Barris’s recruitment to the CIA) took place in the 1960s, his motives for joining included helping his country battle communism. Interestingly, Barris worked on his television show projects while he was undergoing secret government training. As the audience learns about the events of his life, they begin to realize that Barris embodies a square man being caught in a circular hole. Killing was the last thing Barris wanted to spend his time and life doing, but even in his world of producing shows for American television, he was very sensitive to any form of criticism. The personality of Barris, his ambitious lifestyle, and the peculiar series of events he purports to have been in make this an unforgettable story.

Just remember to not be in the vicinity of children while watching this movie as it is rated R. This movie delivered on multiple levels and overall, I would rate it favorably.

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