The Truman Show, Blu-ray (1998-2008)
Starring Jim Carrey, Laura Linney, Ed Harris
Director: Peter Weir
Studio: Paramount 14016 [Release date: Dec. 30, 08]
Video: Anamorphic/enhanced for 16:9 color, 1080p HD
Audio: English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, DD 2.0, French DD 5.1, Spanish DD 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Extras: “The Making of The Truman Show, Parts I & II,” “The Visual Effects of The Truman Show,” 4 deleted scenes, 2 theatrical trailers in HD, 2 TV spots, Photo gallery
Length: 102 minutes
This highly original film is a classic and is on my list of my top 20 favorites. It is the acting masterpiece of Jim Carrey’s and nothing like the roles he usually plays. Original writer Andrew Niccol and imaginative Australian director Peter Weir created an absurd satire of reality shows years before the TV airwaves became packed with absurd reality shows that are very nearly as insane.
Truman Burbank was selected by TV producer-director Christof as a foundling and his actual birth was telecast to millions as the beginning of a 24/7 live broadcast centering on him – using 5000 hidden cameras in a Disneyesque resort village built inside a huge soundstage dome. The whole project is supported by advertising dollars from placement of merchandise in the show, and everyone in Truman’s life is an actor – including his wife, mother and father, best friend, and so on.
The first questioning of his perfect life comes early on, when one of the thousands of stage lights behind the “sky” comes loose and falls to the ground near Truman. However, the announcer on the fake local radio station that’s on in Truman’s car comes up with a fake news flash about some equipment accidentally falling off an airplane flying over the community, Seahaven. But other clues slowly become apparent to Truman that perhaps his “normal” life isn’t quite normal. He has a healthy interest in getting away to see the rest of the world, but both psychological barriers and actual blockages created by Christof prevent him from leaving. Viewers may recall The Prisoner TV series in this regard. He confides his suspicions to his best friend, but that person is also an actor who has been brought up acting the part of Truman’s best friend. Truman is much more attracted to a girl he sees in the village than to his wife, and the girl attempts to tell him of his predicament, but at the time he fails to understand. His frustration as he uncovers the web of deceit constituting his life is palpable, and the concluding moments as he finally breaks out are spectacular.
Many of the film’s shots are done as though they were part of the reality show on the air. One key is vignetting corners of the images as though from tiny hidden cameras in walls, pendants, even pencil sharpeners. Reactions of audiences around the world to events on the show are also briefly shown. Burkhard Dallwitz gets the credit for the musical score, but the most powerful themes are by Wojciech Kilar, taken from his Requiem Father Kolbe. The Making Of featurette is well worth watching, as are the deleted scenes. I discovered many important details in this viewing which I had missed in the theatrical showing a decade ago. The transfer to Blu-ray is first rate, and the surround sound mix makes fine use of the 5.1 channels.
– John Sunier