I've always wanted to write something someone would quote.
A review by Mike Shea Movie Rating: ( * * * * * ) DVD Rating: ( * * * * * )
I had no idea what a pure bred movie I'd be watching when I threw in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. I knew it was hot stuff. I knew the hype factor was pretty high. I expected it to be good. It was.
What I didn't know was that it was directed and starred by O Brother Where Art Thou, both wonderful movies and examples of his true acting talent. Confessions shows what a great director he is. There are some scenes of real power and excellent visuals. The confrontation between our hero and his mentor at the pool is one. The fate of the relationship between Patrica and Chuck is another. Throughout the whole movie are incredibly engineered shots that go far out of their way not to use digital effects that most directors have built their names on. The director's commentary mentions at least twelve such shots such as the NBC lobby tours, the dating game set shots, and a phone conversation between our hero and the head of NBC. All of the shots seem to replace digital effects with actors running and changing sweaters. They're really well done.
I also didn't know that this movie was written by Charlie Kaufman, the writer of the mentally twisting Julia Roberts. If actors are the color of a picture, she's that one puke brown Crayola crayon we should just leave in the box.
The Dogma 95 Rules of Chastity remove all notable style from a movie. They take away all of the tricks and gimmicks that directors might want to add to flavor their movie. Saving Private Ryan. They all seem to be there to give the movie a flavor. They color the work. They take away from the story. You see a lot of it in Confessions. Confessions, for almost half the movie, is washed out to the point of me checking the contrast on my monitor. Whites bleed together. Glares take over half the screen. Bright pinks and baby blues seem like they are painted with one stroke. Skin tones look like they were painted with water color. I am sure this was intentional, and some may like it. I am not sure I do. I won't go so far as to say no movie should have a style. Most of the movies I mentioned I liked a lot. I do not know that the style made the picture.
The DVD of Confessions is an excellent cut. It has a 2.35 to 1 16x9 enhanced picture that looked great when it wasn't completely washed out. The scenes of clarity, the ones where our hero is about to murder someone, all were crystal clear. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack was excellent. It was one of a rare set of movies I could crank up without being evicted. There are a set of deleted scenes and a directors commentary as well. I have decided no longer to remove a star for a lack of a DTS soundtrack. DTS should be abolished, there should only be one audio format. The added confusion of DTS detracts from the ability of an average consumer to enjoy a movie, for a negligible gain.
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind is an excellent movie. Like many movies I've seen this year, it is a movie that makes me love movies as a whole. It makes me want to sit down and write about it. It makes me want to hang more posters around my apartment. I love it. I love the direction, the acting, and the story. Watch it.