Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, screenplay by Charlie Kaufman, based on the book by Chuck Barris
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind is the fascinating, unbelievable – even if perhaps true – story of a game show creator and host who claims to have also been a…CIA hit man and agent.
Written by one of the best screenplay writers, Charlie Kaufman – author of the classics Being John Malkovich, Adaptation and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, to name a few- the film is directed by George Clooney and has a splendid cast.
The recent winner of the Academy Award – for his formidable acting in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – plays the lead with tremendous talent – Chuck Barris is a complex, difficult role.
Drew Barrymore is his girlfriend, Penny, while Julia Roberts steals some scenes as another agent and killer, who comes as a recompense a reward for an accomplished mission, but is also trying to eliminate the CIA agent, once the interests of mysterious parties requires it.
Other friends of the director, George Clooney, make appearances – Matt Damon and Brad Pitt –and the excellent Rutger Hauer as another killer, based on and operating from across the ocean.
The combination of comedy, thriller and spy movie seems to work perfectly in many stages, for instance when the hero is trained by the CIA to kill, handle hand to hand combat and the trainees are showed various techniques which can be used to eliminate adversaries without weapons.
The trainer however seems to make a terrible if somewhat funny mistake.
As he presents the moves and shouts in the manner of the sergeant from Full Metal Jacket- this is how you can kill a man, by hitting with the elbow at his neck and breaking his trachea, he kicks, but he seems to…have killed the innocent man.
Furthermore, he says…
I need another volunteer.
Combining his activity as a CIA operative and hit man, Chuck Barris travels to Europe with participants in his game show, while participating in the plans the agency has for him…
The man who takes part in the show is so obnoxious that the trained killer contemplates murdering him – the audience wonders for some time why he does not do it, indeed.
However, as he is caught by the enemies from the Warsaw pact, the agent is sent to prison and only escapes as a swap is organized – perhaps on The Bridge of Spies – and more than ten American and Western operatives are traded for one single Eastern spy…
That is exactly the game show participant…
An interesting scene is that in which Patricia Watson and Chuck Barris are supposed to have a pleasant evening together, after having had a previous sexual encounter that the hero is informed took place as a reward from the agency.
First, we think that the protagonist is about to die at the hands of a former ally, now turned foe, only to have a surprise.
In conclusion, the film deserves more attention than it received.