The second Charlie Kaufman script (also see “Adaptation”) is also a book put to film. This time it is Chuck Barris’ biography. “Confessions…” is the directors-debut of George Clooney and he is obviously quite influenced by the brothers Coen is whose “O Brother Where Art Thou?” (2000) he played. “Confessions…” first has a similar atmosphere to this Coen film and also their “The Man Who Wasn’t There”.
As said “Confessions…” is about Chuck Barris, the man who came up with the first tv-shows like “The Dating Game” and “The Gong Show”. First you see him in his early days desperately looking for sex. When the tv is introduced, he immediately sees the future in this media and starts at ABC. He comes up with some of the most popular gameshows ever. In the meantime he is recruited as special murder-agent for the CIA by Jim Byrd (played by Clooney himself) and while the film continues, Barris starts to combine his two occupations, but eventually goes insane when his tv-carreer jams and the pressure by the CIA rises.
In the beginning “Confessions…” has a very nice 50/60’ies atmosphere with a subtle kind of humour like we know from the brothers Coen. As the film continues there are very strange and even dark scenes and here and there thrillerish elements. The atmosphere is never forced and goes naturally from one to the other. The colour-setting is very nice, black/white but then green. The ‘setup’ is a bit weird like we may expect from Kaufman. It is both a biography (Barris looking back at his life) and a documentary (with interviews with ex-colleagues etc.). Overall I found this film pretty impressive. It is not brilliant the whole time, but especially for a directors-debut this is close to a masterpiece. <4>