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Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002)

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 113 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

Nice to see you, to see you nice? Probably not if the game show host is anything like Chuck Barris who, in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, juggles his day job as a TV producer/presenter with being a hired killer for the CIA by night.

Sam Rockwell, seen here in his first starring role (but definitely not his last), plays the part of Barris, who in 1984 confessed to his secret lifestyle in an "unauthorized" biography. After coming up with ideas such as "The Dating Game" and "The Gong Show" for TV network ABC, Barris was described by the US media as "the decline of modern civilization" – if you've ever watched "Blind Date" or "Pop Idol", you'll probably agree.

He's a seedy and instantly dislikeable character who, when not repeatedly cheating on his far too understanding girlfriend (Drew Barrymore), seems to have little conscious problem in adjusting to his new double life as a hit man. Then again, considering he spent the first part of his childhood being brought up as a girl, and received advice from the likes of a Swiss Toni-esque Rutger Hauer telling him that "killing a man is much like making love to a beautiful woman", perhaps it's not all that surprising to find Barris a little screwed up.

George Clooney appears as the CIA Agent dedicated to recruiting Barris to the cause but, far more notably, makes his directorial debut. His style is distinct if not discreet – there's a slight feeling that he's trying a bit too hard to draw attention to his work, and some parts of the film flow a little unnaturally. But Clooney certainly knows a few people in this business, and star cameos pop up almost constantly – from the afore-mentioned Hauer, to Julia Roberts as a double-crossing spy, and blink-and-you'll-miss-em appearances from Brad Pitt and Matt Damon.

It's Got: A terrific cast and a superb script by Charlie Kaufman, the man who brought us Being John Malkovich and Adaptation.

It Needs: To show us a little more of those hapless ":Gong Show" contestants.


A both dark and darkly comic account of a mind as deeply strange as it is "dangerous". You’ll never look at Bruce Forsyth in the same light again.