Wednesday, December 29, 2010

#145. The Truman Show (1998)

DVD Synopsis: He's the star of the show — but he doesn't know. Jim Carrey wowed critics and audiences alike as unwitting Truman Burbank in this marvel of a movie from director Peter Weir (Witness, Dead Poets Society) about a man whose life is a nonstop TV show. Truman doesn't realize that his quaint hometown is a giant studio set run by a visionary producer/director/creator (Ed Harris), that folks living and working there are Hollywood actors, that even his incessantly bubbly wife is a contract player. Gradually, Truman gets wise. And what he does about his discovery will have you laughing, crying and cheering like few film stories ever have.

It is an absolute high to watch a film that is completely unique! 

This is the feeling I get every time I see The Truman Show, Peter Weir’s satirical look at the pitfalls of reality television. Everything that happens to Truman (Jim Carrey), each new moment in his TV-produced life, is like a revelation, a reminder of what film can be when approached with imagination. 

The key to understanding the appeal of The Truman Show is to know its director. From his earlier films like Picnic at Hanging Rock to recent endeavors such as Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Peter Weir has tackled vast, extraordinary stories.  Yet, despite their enormous scope, never once has he allowed any of his film’s grand events to overshadow it's characters, and The Truman Show is no exception. 

At first, we’re drawn into the film by the novelty of Truman’s world, which features a saccharine-sweet community surrounded on all sides by malfunctioning equipment, incessantly happy neighbors and some not-so subtle product placements

By the time the movie ends, though, we realize our attention was given not so much to the spectacle of this sanitized television environment, but the battle of wills that developed between Truman and the show’s creator, Christof (Ed Harris).   It is in the clashing of these two personalities that the heart of this story lies; everything else is just window-dressing.

While Jim Carrey’s performance in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind may be his best, I have to say that his turn in The Truman Show is my favorite. I smiled throughout this movie, and I’m smiling now just thinking about it.

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