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Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2003)



Average Rating: 7.2/10
Reviews Counted: 159
Fresh: 126 | Rotten: 33

Rockwell is spot-on as Barris, and Clooney directs with entertaining style and flair.


Average Rating: 7.3/10
Critic Reviews: 35
Fresh: 29 | Rotten: 6

Rockwell is spot-on as Barris, and Clooney directs with entertaining style and flair.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 57,379

My Rating

Movie Info

Chuck Barris is best known to most Americans as the guy who used to host The Gong Show. He was also the creator and producer of The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game, and a handful of other successful game shows in the 1960s and 1970s. But was he also a hired killer working with the CIA? That's the take-it-or-leave-it premise of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, based on the memoir of the same name by Chuck Barris. Barris (Sam Rockwell) grows up dreaming of success in show biz and winning the hearts


Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Comedy

Chuck Barris, Charlie Kaufman

Sep 9, 2003


Miramax Films - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (161) | Top Critics (35) | Fresh (126) | Rotten (33) | DVD (34)

Brimming with slightly self-conscious directorial panache, the movie zips between nearly three decades, fantasy and reality without ever really deciding how seriously it wants to take itself.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The American film of the season -- and maybe of the year, or the last couple of years...

February 7, 2003 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A darkly enjoyable roller-coaster ride.

January 24, 2003
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A picture that is surely one of the oddest ever made.

January 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
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It's a smart, stylish, eminently watchable movie that nonetheless feels a little empty at the end.

January 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
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Clooney, who on the basis of this movie has a big career ahead of him behind the camera, demonstrates a real flair for visual comedy.

January 24, 2003
San Jose Mercury News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Well-acted and well-written, for mature teens+.

January 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

An intriguing, bizarre and challenging film that invites us into a world filled with larger-than-life characters and strange occurrences.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Fact and possible fiction amble to a photo finish as one of pop culture's nuttiest milestones.

August 7, 2008 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

Clooney wanted Kaufman's script delivered without corruption or softening. He has overcorrected and made a glum, almost listless movie.

July 30, 2007 Full Review Source:

Directing a movie is no picnic, but I'll be damned if Mr. Clooney doesn't make it seem like fun.

July 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Big Picture Big Sound
Big Picture Big Sound

A terrific actor, a handsome movie star and now an accomplished director--damn you, Mr. Clooney, for making it that much more unfair for the average joe likes of myself.

February 8, 2005 Full Review Source:

Clooney directs it! How could it be any good?

October 7, 2004 Full Review Source: | Comments (2)

Noir fantasy with the pop funkiness of '70s game shows

June 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)

Un prodigio narrativo muy diferente a todo lo que suele producir Hollywood, pero no por capricho de un director sino al servicio de una historia y de un punto de vista.

November 3, 2003 Full Review Source: Uruguay Total
Uruguay Total

Bounces around like the smarter and weirder older brother of Spielberg's Catch Me If You Can.

October 19, 2003 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind is freakin' brilliant. Sam Rockwell gives a whack-you-upside-the-head dose of his talent!

September 22, 2003 Full Review Source: Blunt Review
Blunt Review

...a one-note character study about an unhappy, insecure, delusional paranoiac, whose assassin gimmick wears thin almost before it gets started.

September 2, 2003 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Because of movies like this, nostalgia just ain't what it used to be.

August 11, 2003 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews | Comment (1)
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Directing for the first time, Clooney turns out to be a natural when it comes to parody...

August 1, 2003 Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney Morning Herald

Clooney has made a stylish debut, wisely making his movie resemble the wacky game shows Barris dreamt up.

July 29, 2003 Full Review Source: Sunday Times (Australia)
Sunday Times (Australia)

Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind is the latest, and most promising evolution of Clooney's career. . .

June 10, 2003 Full Review Source:

Os universos de Chuck Barris e Charlie Kaufman são complementares. E igualmente fascinantes.

May 1, 2003 Full Review Source: Cinema em Cena
Cinema em Cena

Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind may not be in the Citizen Kane class, but George Clooney's first foray behind the camera does boast similarly bravura technique and an infectious sense of joy in the filmmaking process.

April 23, 2003 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

The movie feels like it's going to be great, and it carries on feeling that way for a long time, but takeoff just never happens.

March 19, 2003 | Comment (1)

Audience Reviews for Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

His future was uncertain. His every move was being watched.

Very Good Film! One of Charlie Kaufman's more overlooked and underrated screenplays, 'Confessions of a Dangerous Mind' may have been something of a departure from the high-concept experimentalism that made his previous brainchildren, 'Being John Malkovich' and 'Adaptation' (a masterpiece and a near-masterpiece, respectively) such striking breaths of fresh air, but on no account should its ability to engage and entertain on those strengths of its own be underestimated. Taking a well-earned break from the surreal situations and the complex plotting, Kaufman turned his attention here to a much more straightforward yarn that was better grounded in reality; the twist there being that it was based on a story that, while allegedly true, just as likely never happened. 'Confessions' though is willing to give Chuck Barris the benefit of the doubt in regards to his dubious claims to have been a secret assassin for the CIA in the midst of his days as a game show host, giving life to such controversial classic as 'the Gong Show' and 'the Dating Game' while taking it from a range of human targets around the globe. It sits back and lets the scenario unfold without question - and does so with such considerable spirit and vigour that it's hard not to get lured in and pulled along for the ride. Regardless of whether the real-life Barris truly did have some incredible adventures within his time, or simply an overly-active imagination, this ×movie translates it into one heck of an enjoyable romp - slick, stylish and entrancing on the surface, and with a bracingly poignant and sobering tale lurking underneath. It's not an innovative, far-out, one-of-a-kind experience (a la 'Being John Malkovich'). But it's an entertaining, well-made and entirely satisfying flick with one particularly brilliant stand-out performance, and that's more than enough to do the job. Kaufman can probably pen avant-garde better than anybody else today, but 'Confessions of a Dangerous Mind' goes to prove that, when in the right company, he can write 'normal' just as impressively.

Television made him famous, but his biggest hits happened off screen. "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" is the story of a legendary showman's double life - television producer by day, CIA assassin by night. At the height of his TV career, Chuck Barris was recruited by the CIA and trained to become a covert operative. Or so Barris said.
August 2, 2014
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

Jim Byrd: You're an assassination enthusiast, a murder buff.

"Some Things Are Better Left Top Secret"

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind is an altogether interesting film from all angles. There's the life of Chuck Barris aspect, which is the story of the film, and if the CIA connection is actually true or not. Then there's the technical elements. It's George Clooney's directorial debut and it's written by Charlie Kauffman. There's also the great cast, including: Sam Rockwell, Drew Barrymore, George Clooney, and Julia Roberts. Overall, it's a fairly good movie, but in that sense it is also disappointing because I believe, given the source material and names attached, it should have been a lot better.

This biographical film follows Chuck Barris as he works his way into television by coming up with game show ideas like, The Dating Game. In enters, Jim Byrd, who approaches Chuck about becoming an independent contract killer for the CIA right before he hits it big with his first game show. From their we see the supposed double life of Chuck Barris. On the surface he's just a trash television personality, but behind the scenes he's a lethal assassin. 

At the end of this one I was left wondering what could have been. The movie is extremely messy in spots and some scenes just don't work at all. Then there's the scenes that are just about perfect also. If only Clooney, Kauffman, and the cast could have found a happy medium between the absurd and the serious, this would have been a much better film.

As it is, this is still a pretty good film. It's far from perfect and suffers from a variety of problems, but it's altogether entertaining and interesting. It's worth a watch for more than the fact that it's Clooney's directorial debut and a Kauffman script. 
January 1, 2014
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

This is one of those films that took forever to get made, had a lot of turnover in terms of casting, directors, and screenwriters. Because this film did take twenty years to make, and had some creative differences between director George Clooney and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, there are some strange scenes and odd choices to this semi-biographic film about host, show creator, and supposed CIA operative Chuck Barris. The main objective of the film is to show the true story of Chuck Barris, based on his autobiography, and that earnest attitude towards staying true to a set of events that are widely disputed makes cartoonish circumstances come off as corny and strange. If the script had been handled appropriately and given the credence that a Kaufman script deserves, then this film would be better received than it already is. As a straight biopic this film is off-putting at every turn, but as a general film it remains very interesting. Sam Rockwell has the swag and confidence to be a bigger star than he's given credit for, and he proves that in this film as well as the critically acclaimed "Moon". The rest of the cast is engaging, and the film stays interesting, but when it comes to Barris being a spy, everything feels slow, methodical, and sluggish. Particularly when it comes to Julia Roberts' performances, the story gets a bit muddled. There is some action, though it belies the point of the actual movie, and makes it harder to characterize really who Barris is. Is he the smart and affable game show creator, the thrust upon hero, or the wronged man who has taken on too much responsibility? You can never feel close to the character, and you can never understand him either. If it's not flashing game show clips at you it all feels bleak and wrong.
July 25, 2013

Super Reviewer

George Clooney clearly had fun directing this movie, as there are all sorts of neat-looking details going on. Unfortunately, Charlie Kaufman's least daring script tries to sculpt the story into the usual psyche-study with unsubtle philosophical subtexts, but those elements sort of just flail around, leaving audiences with nothing much more than a wacky, slick-looking drama/thriller thing with a talented but underutilized cast, and not enough substance to complement the style.
January 7, 2013
Sam Barnett

Super Reviewer

    1. Patricia Watson: Leave the microfilm in, baby.
    – Submitted by Michael S (12 months ago)
    1. Chuck Barris: Whatever your hand finds to do, do it gladly, because there is no work, love, knowledge or wisdom in the grave.
    – Submitted by Nusfish K (2 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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