Thursday, July 24, 2014
Retro Review: The Truman Show (1998)
I Would Highly Suggest You Tune In To 'The Truman Show'
Reality television has become quite a part of our culture today and to me, that is quite unfortunate. But, thankfully, back in 1998, we had a brilliant film that was like a reminder of what would lie ahead in the future. That film is the satirical drama known as The Truman Show.
The Truman Show follows the story of a simple man named Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) who is unaware that his whole life, he has lived in a television studio and his life has always been on camera on a show called "The Truman Show". Eventually, once he discovers this and that his friends and loved ones, including his wife Meryl (Laura Linney), are just actors, he not only tries to come to terms with this but tries to escape as well.
First off, I really loved the idea. Similar to how Network is a prophetic look at TV in general and what people will do for ratings, The Truman Show is a prophetic look into the concept of reality television. Since Truman's life is always on camera, it is like how the Kardashians or those on shows like Jersey Shore, Teen Mom, The Kardashians, and Duck Dynasty are always documented. Except Truman lived his life on a Hollywood set and what he experiences in day-to-day life is actually not that realistic. Yet this movie is still like an indicator of what has become of reality TV, which obviously is real life. So, even though I never watch reality TV shows because I think they are pointless, I think this whole concept is fascinating.
Next, I'll get into Jim Carrey's performance. Just like his performance in Eternal Sunshine, WOW! We hardly ever see an ounce of Jim Carrey-isms in his performance in this and he really carries dramatic heavyweight without ever going overboard. Once he realizes that everyone and everything he's known his whole life was just for show, he really captures that in his eyes. I normally love seeing Jim Carrey make me laugh, but he has really proven himself as a dramatic actor and even though he didn't get an Oscar nomination for Truman, he luckily still got some recognition, including a Golden Globe win. But one actress I'd love to acknowledge is Laura Linney. She effortlessly stole the show when she was on screen and I loved how at first, she is mostly upbeat and perky yet as the film progresses, she gets more nervous and slowly gets out of character. Ed Harris is also very good as Christof, the executive behind The Truman Show who is rather enigmatic.
Another thing I really liked was the direction by Peter Weir. I liked how he filmed scenes from the point of view of tiny hidden camera lenses which to me, is like a representation of the "all-seeing eye" that watches over everything and everyone on the giant set. I feel that plays upon the theme of religion and a representation of Christoff. Since Christoff is behind the whole thing, if you really dig deep into the film, you wonder whether he has a God-like complex since he is the almighty power of the film or a Lucifer-like complex since the "all-seeing eye" comes from the Satanic cult known as the Illuminati and since the film is like a satire of the media, there is that whole rumor of people in the entertainment industry being a part of the Illuminati and looking to control the world. But Christoff looks to control not just Truman but those living in his little bubble. So, I not only liked Weir's direction, but how there were implicit themes of religion brought into writer Andrew Niccol's brilliant story.
Overall, The Truman Show is an eerily prophetic yet highly captivating satirical drama. The performance by Jim Carrey is nothing short of brilliant and the direction by Peter Weir is just astounding. I would say whether you are a fan of Jim Carrey or not, give this a watch. Either way, you will be surprised by his performance. But if you just want to see a film with groundbreaking storytelling, I would still say put this high on your watch list.