|THE TRUMAN SHOW (1998)|
|"We accept the reality of the world with which we are presented."|
|Time: 102 mins.|
Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor (Harris), Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.
THE TRUMAN SHOW should have been a great film original concept, good-acting, wonderful director unfortunately it never gets out of the gate. It has Carrey in a role that allows him to play a real human being, instead of a wacko retard. One of the main reasons I actually decided to watch the film. It's clear from his performance here, that he's got more depth as an actor than Hollywood is allowing him to show. Too bad the story isn't up to his talent. Who could resist a tale about a man whose life has been manufactured into the most popular reality television series of all time without his knowledge? It's heady stuff dealing with issues of personal destiny and the role media plays in our lives. Whether true happiness can only come from personal choice or whether one can be content with a world beyond one's control yet created for your pleasure.
Great ideas, boring execution. Mainly because the overall story lacks suspense. You know where the film is going from start to finish. Does anyone ever doubt that once Truman finds out his whole life has been orchestrated for the amusement of others that he will try to gain control of his world? Not only is this revelation not surprising, all the time spent leading up to it is fairly mundane. He has no real free will, so every day is like the next and every situation preordained. He may be the only "real" person in his world, but how can his feelings be true if he never gets to actually make decisions about his life and future? The most interesting part of this film deals with the other characters and how living this sham of a life affects their reality. Because we're in on the secret, we're forced to merely watch his life unfold instead of becoming involved in his quest for freedom and true love. The film would have been more enjoyable and engrossing if we were able to uncover the travesty of his life with Truman.
Which isn't to say the film is all bad. Carrey gives a somewhat restrained and powerful performance as Truman Burbank, a baby adopted by a multimedia corporation before he was born and raised on his own TV show. Everyone in his life, from his mother to his best friend are paid actors, fed lines from Christopf (Harris) the creator and producer of "The Truman Show." In order to capture every moment of Truman's life, there are over 5000 cameras all over the little island of Sea View, which is entirely enclosed in the largest sound stage ever built. To make sure Truman never wants to leave the island, Christopf "kills" his father in a boating accident, making Truman deathly afraid of the "ocean." Truman lives happily in his own world, until his "father" reappears on the set begging to speak with him. Determined to discover what's going on, Truman alters his daily schedule which sends the carefully orchestrated set-up into complete disarray. He's going to get out of town if it kills him.
No matter what dangers Christopf throws at him, Truman continues to try to escape. Though Truman pretends to give up his plan to flee, he becomes more determined than ever...and one night actually disappears. The network is forced to suspend transmission for the first time in 30 years while the extras search every nook and cranny of the sound stage for their errant star. The sponsors are up in arms. Truman has been a cash cow and Christopf better find him quickly and unharmed. When the frantic search yields nothing, it's Christopf who figures out where Truman is "hiding." He's out on the "sea", planning to sail away. Truman realizes that nothing in his life has been real, so why should he be afraid of the water. He's the star, nothing can happen to him. Christopf confesses everything and tries to convince Truman to stay where the world is safe and everybody loves him. But Truman refuses. He wants to live his life on his own terms and walks away.
A happy ending? I guess so, but who cares? By that point I was just waiting for the movie to be over. Like he would choose to stay. Who would want to live a life without choice? I have a feeling that this began as a much darker story. I would have cared more if I actually thought Truman's life was in jeopardy. If Christopf was a crazed, ratings lunatic who would rather his star die than leave, that would have been interesting. However, you know that Truman is the son he never had and though he pretends to be mean, he'd never let Truman come to actual harm. I just needed something more. Harris and Carrey try to give their characters life and substance, and though they both give good performances, these roles are nothing special. Why they're winning awards I have no idea. Just because an idea is unique doesn't mean it's good. This isn't a horrible movie, it's just not a great one either. It's just sad it doesn't live up to its potential. It could have been spectacular. Sometimes films just don't come out like you planned. Though with all the awards being thrown at the cast and crew, I think I'm the only one complaining.