Directed by George Clooney
Screenplay by Charlie Kaufman
Based on the Novel by Chuck Barris
Sam Rockwell, Drew Barrymore, George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Rutger Hauer, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Robert John Burke, Chuck Barris.
In the 1960’s – Chuck Barris (Rockwell), desperately wants to become a TV game-show creator. He also is a hired contract killer for the CIA. This is the biographic movie based on the autobiography by the real life Barris, which has been disputed by its realism since its release.
In this George Clooney’s directorial debut, and he does a solid job here. There are some fun use of camera work where two sets are shown in one shot (the Goldberg phone call in the first half of the film). There are also at times some fun use of ‘of the time’ set pieces, such as the planes with curtains etc – but these could have been done so much better at times too.
There are some darkly funny moments, and the real highlight is Burke as one of the CIA trainer. Every scene he is in he delivers his lines with such humour.
Rockwell, as always delivers, and while I can’t say this is his ‘career best’ as he has done such brilliant work both before this (Green Mile) and after (Moon, Three Billboards).
There are some fun ‘references’ that are thrown in too, one line early in the film references a tv show starring Rosemary Clooney (George’s Aunt) and there is a blink and you’ll miss it cameo from his good friends, and Ocean’s co stars Matt Damon and Brad Pitt.
There are some downs; it does take a little while to get going, but once it does, it is a very enjoyable romp. I didn’t particularly love the final 20 minutes or so, I felt it didn’t work in the context of the rest of the film.
The narration from Rockwell’s Chuck is a tad overused, and some of the dialogue (ironically from Clooney himself) is somewhat mumbled, and hard to make out.