...engaging and discerning culture, as a way of life...

September 30, 2006

The Truman Show - 7

It has been 8 years since I first saw this film on its release in 1998. Directed by Peter Weir (Master and Commander, Dead Poets Society, The Mosquito Coast, Witness, Fearless, etc) and written by Andrew Niccol (Gattaca - 7, Simone - 7, Lord of War - 6, The Terminal - 3), this film is a commentary on reality TV, before it really took off with Survivor. In this case, Christof, a multi-millionaire, creates an experiment where a boy, Truman, is born into a massive studio where his life is created for him. He is the only real person in this town. The start of the film is his beginning to see the world around him in a new way, he is suspicious and wants to leave for Fiji. As Christof et al, try to prevent that by manipulating the environment, Truman has many great conversations with others, and eventually takes to the sea (his one great fear that keeps him on the island) this reaches a climax as he survives Christof's attempts to kill him off and eventually runs into the wall that is the boundary of the studio. His struggle become the struggle of the human condition for freedom and truth. This film is great for discussion especially about important topics like how we know reality, what we can trust, and how humans think about God. The film also features great performances by Jim Carrey, Laura Linney, and Ed Harris.

1 comment:

Paul said...

I watch this film every time it's on cable. On one level, I'm a little saddened that Niccol gives Christof and Truman such obviously symbolic names, which reduces the film to an allegorical level. On the other level, though, this film still works despite being an "easy" film to decipher. That ending is still just as powerful as it was back in '98.

Not sure if it's a bona fide classic in my mind, but it's still a great piece of social commentary and pure filmmaking.