coN‘FEssI'ons or A DANGEROUS MIND (15) 113mm 0...

Gorgeous George's directing debut turns out to be a real treat. Based on the autobiography of the creator of such dumbed-down American TV gameshows as The Dating Game (which spawned Blind Date) and The Gong Show, Confessions tells the story of Chuck Barris, who insists he had a secret life outside of television . . . as a CIA hitman who performed 33 assassinations for the US government during the 805.

Cleverly, Clooney and his scriptwriter Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) take Barris' word with a pinch of salt, playing the film as an offbeat. black comedy. When. for example, Barris chaperones 3 Dating Game couple on a date to Berlin, what the lovemaking pair don‘t realise is Barris is actually there to nip across wall into the communist-run east of the city on CIA business. Quizzed on whether or not he believes Barris' unlikely story. Clooney has said only that it kills him (with laughter) that while Chuck maintains he’s killed many people, he came under a great deal of critical fire for ‘killing‘ intelligent television. and that perhaps Barris felt guilty enough about the latter crime to invent the rather fantastic former.

Clooney, displaying a very respectable grasp of his directing duties

flashbacks within flashbacks switching from kitsch comedy to disturbing drama and using a variety of film stocks and filming styles. Clooney displays a very respectable grasp of his directing duties. Those formal tricks perfectly suit the material Kaufman and Barris have cooked up between them.

Clooney. who gives himself a plum cameo as a gay CIA operative who makes contact with Barris (for business, not pleasure), has assembled a fine cast. In the lead, giving a remarkably on-key impersonation of Barris, Sam

good actor, but to also have screen charisma to match his director. Drew Barrymore and Rutger Hauer as, respectively, Barris‘ lover and a fellow assassin acquit themselves well, although Julia Roberts just doesn't have the screen presence to convince as a secret-agent vamp. Plenty of people make guest appearances playing themselves (including Barris). and there's a great gag during the staging of an episode of The Dating Game involving a pair of Hollywood heartthrobs. Well, they say Clooney's Hollywood‘s hottest prankster. (Miles Fielder)

EQUILIBRIUM (15) 106mm 0..

Cutting back and forth including Rockwell proves not only to be a I 1. BARBERSHOP THE LIFE OF (12A) 103mm no DAVID GALE (15) 99min .0 :' wtu Scripted butt-kicking :- "i: ' \I '\' '\ ~‘: Trivialising a serious issue ' . . , ~. \ f I39" _ _. __ I”; More than enough decent gags 5' '~.' '. I 1;. " '