Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
is brilliantly directed by George Clooney, that rare example of an actor who directs with flair rather than mere (and award-rewarded) competence. (A little digression while I scream in cyberspace about the fact that Scorsese has lost his two most deserved Oscars to first-time actors-turned-directors Robert Redford--Ordinary People
over Raging Bull
--and Kevin Costner--Dances With Wolves
But here in Clooney we have an actor who directs like a director rather than an actor. His mood swings are exhilarating and his photographic choices are original. His pace is quirky and his direction of the actors inventive. The choice of material started the ball rolling on this memorable excursion into film noir/looney bio/screwball comedy. Chuck Barris's "unauthorized" autobiography told of his possibly true but difficult to believe life as a game show creator and host and his alternate reality as a CIA assassin. Whether or not it's true--and the movie makes a convincing-enough case that it could be--it's a weird and engrossing tale. And Clooney's creative work keeps you constantly off guard.
He also does superb work with the actors. Sam Rockwell is fantastic as Chuck Barris, melding various divergent character traits into a completely believable character. He's funny, endearing, annoying, scary, and sad. Drew Barrymore is better than she's ever been. And as a nefarious spy, Julia Roberts is amazing; it's possible she'll even convince Julia-bashers. This is one of the best pictures of the year and Clooney's direction is right up there too. I would call this one an absolute must.