Movie Review – “The Truman Show”

So, anyone care to place bets on the first network to
actually do this?

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Jim Carrey as Truman Burbank

Ed Harris as Christof

Music by Philip Glass

Written by Andrew Niccol

Directed by Peter Wier

Complete cast and crew info at The
Internet
Movie Database
.

Premise

Truman Burbank’s entire life is a reality show, and he’s the
only one
who doesn’t know it.

When this was first released in 1998, it was considered
sci-fi by a
lot of people for the same reasons The Running
Man
was; at
some ambiguous point in the near future, society would
change, and
the film provides the social commentary. Well, the future
presented
here seems far more realistic now than it did five years
ago, before
Survivor, The Amazing Race, or
Big Brother.
At the time this was released, MTV’s The Real
World
was the
only “reality” show on television.

High Point

“That one’s for free.” A nice touch to let the viewers know
what’s
coming.

Low Point

Jim Carrey didn’t start out normal enough. The first
meeting with his
neighbours felt like Truman was performing, but he was just
supposed
to be living. Other things Carrey did, like kicking the radio
with
his right foot while driving, just aren’t the things that Truman
should have been doing at that stage of things. Going
over the top
later in the movie is expected, and it works then, but he
should have
started out at a much mellower stage.

The Scores

The originality of this film is hurt by the
existence of
EdTV, an extremely similarly themed movie
that had to have
been filmed simultaneously, given the similarity in release
dates. I
haven’t seen EdTV, but I understand that there
are some
significant differences in the details beyond the “a man’s
life is
broadcast on TV” concept. If not for EdTV, it
would feel
pretty original for a movie. I give it 4 out of 6.

The effects were effectively used most of the
time. The
camera fogging effects kept the right tone, and the
construction of
the world was plausible. My only quibble is in turning the
moon into
a spotlight, but that’s a script problem, not an effects
problem. I
give it 5 out of 6.

The story is well written. The pieces add up,
with one
exception: I’m not convinced Truman could have gone to a
normal
elementary school. There are just too many kids there to
believe that
they’d all be able to keep the secret. Once you move past
that issue,
it works rather well. I give it 5 out of 6.

The acting from Jim Carrey only works for half
the movie, as
mentioned above. That’s just not good enough given the
importance of
his role. I give it 3 out of 6.

The emotional response this produced was
excellent. Keep
this in mind: I hate reality shows. The ones on
the air
right now seem designed in such a way that the worst
elements of
humanity are the ones that get rewarded. The best
manipulators are
the ones that win these shows. Thus, the kind of
unintentional
malevolance inflicted on Truman seems pretty plausible to
me. This is
where reality shows could very easily go. I really, really
wanted to
see Truman realize the reality he’s been trapped in, and
manage to
escape. After Jim Carrey’s intial stumbling, it worked
extremely
well. I give it 5 out of 6.

The production was excellent. The camera
work produced
exactly the right feel, the natural lighting fit in with the
nature of
the environments, and the Philip Glass score worked
perfectly. Peter
Weir made an excellent movie. Heck, he made a Jim
Carrey movie I’m
willing to watch, and watch more than once; this is a rare
achievement
in itself. I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, this movie is strongly recommended
to those who are
sick of reality TV and just want it to go away. I give it 5 out
of 6.

In total, The Truman Show receives 33 out of
42.

12 replies on “Movie Review – “The Truman Show””

  1. jbrecken says:

    Low point
    I disagree with the reviewer on the low point.
    Since Truman was broadcast from infancy, it’s likely that he would end up with behavior patterns that make for good TV, since those would have been reinforced by his ‘parents’ when he was growing up.

    For me, the low was the ending. It felt like they only told half the story. I wanted to see what happens next – how does he react to reality?

    I get the meta reason that the viewers of the show wouldn’t get to see what comes next, but I wasn’t watching the show; I was watching a movie about it.

    • Timeshredder says:

      Re: Low point

      Ed-TV is the funnier of the two, but it’s a very different film. As for originality, Ed-TV was itself loosely based on a French-Canadian film which used the same premise, and was made a couple of years earlier.

      • y42 says:

        Re: Low point

        Ed-TV is the funnier of the two, but it’s a very
        different film. As for originality, Ed-TV was itself loosely based
        on a French-Canadian film which used the same premise, and was made
        a couple of years earlier.

        Louis XIX: Le roi des ondes.

        Didn’t see EdTv on account of it can’t be better than the original, but if
        by “loosly based” you mean “bought the rights and put a better looking
        star in the role”, then yeah.

      • y42 says:

        Re: Low point

        Ed-TV is the funnier of the two, but it’s a very
        different film. As for originality, Ed-TV was itself loosely based
        on a French-Canadian film which used the same premise, and was made
        a couple of years earlier.

        Louis XIX: Le roi des ondes.

        Didn’t see EdTv on account of it can’t be better than the original, but if
        by “loosly-based” you mean “bought the rights and put a better looking
        star in the role”, than yeah.

    • Trekkie says:

      Re: Low point

      I disagree with the reviewer on the low point.
      Since Truman was broadcast from infancy, it’s likely that he would end up with behavior patterns that make for good TV, since those would have been reinforced by his ‘parents’

      I agree. You’d have to be a little odd especially when every time your parents, friends, and relatives pick up random products and do a really odd up-beat discussion on the wonders of said product.

      The children thing that was mentioned I would think could be easily applied to the fact that they go ‘home’ inside ‘the dome’ instead of the outside world, so Truman Show wouldn’t be on much either

      Hard to say, but then that’s why I try to ‘suspend’ some of my conceptions about the world and enjoy myself at a theater too :)

  2. Icehouseman says:

    Elementary school.
    That’s easy. Tell a bunch of actors (that live in the dome) that their kids would be able to go to a private school with Truman, the only condition is that they cannot watch the show in their house. Therefore, the kids wouldn’t know Truman is important.

    • Boglin says:

      Re: Elementary school.

      That’s easy. Tell a bunch of actors (that live in the dome) that their kids would be able to go to a private school with Truman, the only condition is that they cannot watch the show in their house. Therefore, the kids wouldn’t know Truman is important.

      Except this kind of goes back to the problem that the movie always had: his life was scripted. The made a very big point out of how the world in the dome doesn’t run as long as he’s not around. The one guy that was Truman’s best friend from childhood would had to have been told to make friends with him. It just doesn’t seem reasonable to me that he had never let it leak. I guess you could make the arguement that he had just become genuine friends with Truman and it was then worked into the show, but a)I would have a hard time thinking that a genuine friendship would have kept the secret for that long and b) that wasn’t the way that it appeared they did things (ie the director choose a girl to marry him as opposed to just waiting for one of the actresses to fall in love).

  3. is says:

    both were good
    EdTv and The Truman show… I liked em both… but they were pretty different.

    I agree that it is hard to get a Jim Carey movie that is re-watchable… I thought Liar Liar was decent…
    Funny thing is that Carey is a great actor when he has a role that doesn’t only use his goofy side.

    • Trekkie says:

      Re: both were good

      EdTv and The Truman show… I liked em both… but they were pretty different.

      I agree that it is hard to get a Jim Carey movie that is re-watchable… I thought Liar Liar was decent…
      Funny thing is that Carey is a great actor when he has a role that doesn’t only use his goofy side.

      I’m not a big Jim Carey fan, though I found Truman show and Liar Liar to be worth owning on DVD. Mask wasn’t too bad but I found the ‘he gets the hot chick’ thing to be so done that I didn’t like it as much as I could

  4. starbreeze says:

    they’ve already done it
    TNN^W^W^W Spike TV sort of did this with uhm.. the Joe Schmo show I think. That guy from Mt. Lebanon (a Pittsburgh suburb) thinking he was on a reality show but it was all scripted…

    • Alexius says:

      Re: they’ve already done it

      TNN^W^W^W Spike TV sort of did this with uhm.. the Joe Schmo show I think. That guy from Mt. Lebanon (a Pittsburgh suburb) thinking he was on a reality show but it was all scripted…

      My Girlfriend Knew Him.

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