Chuck Barris: I'm not killing people... my future's in television.
A film based on the autobiography of game-show creator-host Chuck Barris, of The Gong Show and the Dating Game to name a few. In this autobiography he details his life in show business as well as his other life as a CIA assassin. Game show host by day, Assassin by night. The truth is still not for certain.
Sam Rockwell stars as Chuck Barris, in a pitch perfect performance, capturing all the nuances and quirks that make the real Barris.
Simon Oliver: You are a bloody amateur.
Chuck Barris: You're a faggot.
Jim Byrd: Chuck.
Simon Oliver: Tell me, Mr. Barris, are you in possession of my microfilm?
Chuck Barris: Yeah, I got it.
Simon Oliver: Let's have it, then.
Chuck Barris: It's up my ass, Oliver, why don't you reach on up there and get it?
The book has been turned into a screenplay by Charlie Kaufman of Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine, and Being John Malkkovich fame, and who better to adapt such an offbeat story, filling the film with dark humor and a twisty tone from satire to bleak and philosophical in its own ways.
Jim Byrd: You're 32 years old, and you've achieved nothing. Jesus Christ was dead and alive again by 33. You better get crackin'.
Its also a low budget movie from Miramax, directed by George Clooney for his first time in the directors chair, and being low budget, he gives the film a great look using various camera techniques, film saturation, old movie tricks, and long creative takes to get some neatly done scenes.
[developing his idea for the Gong Show]
Chuck Barris: We're goin' about this all wrong! We're killing ourselves trying to find good acts. We just book bad ones and kill them! We kill 'em before they're through, as soon as it gets unbearable, we kill them. Dead.
Also well handled is the incorporation of the actual game show footage into the film and the recreation of certain events as well as the whole look of the various decades portrayed and interviews with various people who know Chuck.
Patricia: Very good Chuck. I am pleasantly surprised, you're not like the other murderers.
Drew Barrymore and Julia Roberts also star as the two women in Chuck's life that make up a part of him and what he wants to be, and they are both very good in their roles.
Rutger Hauer and Clooney again show up in small parts as well, and make their scenes and chemistry with Rockwell work very well adding to both the dark tone and dry comedy of the film.
The way the subject matter of assassin is handled is done so well, putting the viewer in a certain frame of mind that could go either way with if Barris was actually an assassin or not, and how the whole experience was fucking with his mind.
If there is one gripe, its how dark this film does gets in terms of its dramatic shift after the first hour, but that's a small issue, this is a very entertaining, well written dark comedy, with a great performance form Rockwell and very good directorial effort from Clooney.
Jim Byrd: He's a bad guy. He's one of the bad guys.
Chuck Barris: Bad for the US, right, Jim? Not bad in the absolute sense. Just bad for the US.
Jim Byrd: Don't fuckin' dance with me. Renda's bad for the Tea & Biscuit Company. He's bad for me personally. You work for me. Renda's bad for me... You're now officially a patriotic citizen of the United States of Jim Byrd. There's no backing out now. We let you in on everything. You don't play. You don't leave. You understand that? You don't play... You don't leave.