Imagine if you will, a world created not by the hands of God, but by the hands of men. A world where everyone but you is aware of its artificial nature, and their chosen profession is to make sure that you never discover the truth. This is a world that could never exist in ours. This is a world that could only exist . . .
On THE TRUMAN SHOW. (dramatic conga playing)
Now ladies and gentlemen (preferably ladies), I will discuss why this movie is number eight on the list. To prepare for each review, I watch the movie and take notes. Now, I’m not the preacher from the local Church of Christ, but I have three points and I’ll let you go.
1. The Irony. I love irony. Irony is what makes some movies great, and some of them (not just this one) are on my top ten list. One great example of the irony in this movie is when Truman (Jim Carrey) and his friend Marlin (a lesser known actor) are talking about life and how “normal” and boring everything is. Truman says the words “Just between you and me…” which is terribly ironic because the whole word is watching this conversation. Later on, after certain events lead to Truman doubting his own sanity, he tells Marlin about his suspicions of a conspiracy. Marlin says that if everyone were in on it, he would have to be as well, and “The last thing I would ever do is lie to you.” I mean if it weren’t such an emotional scene full of man love, that would have been funny.
2. The Unreal. This is Truman’s world. He knows nothing else, but he feels a dissonance and we feel it right along with him. This entire life of Truman’s has been orchestrated to look real. There are people driving their cars around just for the sake of atmosphere, but no one will run over Truman even if he’s being careless. Otherwise, the extras completely ignore him. They never look up when he makes obnoxious noises or hits random people with his briefcase. Not even a flinch. That’s not normal. If you don’t believe me, just shout at someone in a crowded cafeteria for no reason some time and see how many people look in your direction.
Most of the dialogue is awkward, too. It’s not just the things they say, but also how they say them. The conversations between Truman and his wife Meryl (Laura Linney) sound so unnatural whether it’s when she’s nagging him about finances so he’ll forget about wanting to see the world or when she’s doing one of her covert product placement ads and talking to Truman like he’s on the other side of a television screen and not standing right in front of her. You see, this world that revolves around Truman must be paid for, so Meryl works little blurbs about the latest products into everyday conversation. It’s creepy. And speaking of unnatural, Marlin is always showing up with beer, but he calls them “brewskies”. Who in the world says “brewskies”? I’ll tell you who; people who do not or are not allowed to drink beer. They don’t even use that term on real TV commercials.
3. The Real. The antagonist is Christof, played by Ed Harris. Christof is in a sense a father to Truman. He created the show and built this entire world around him. When accused of keeping him captive like an animal, Christof says that he does not deny Truman the power to leave if he truly wishes. However, Christof goes to great lengths to keep him contained. He places him on an island and makes him afraid of the water. He makes not-so-subtle posters showing the dangers of traveling and puts them in the travel agent’s office. And everyone that is important to Truman has the job of redirecting him whenever he gets wild ideas of going someplace new (i.e. the “brewskies and the product placement). It worked when he was a kid, but Truman grows up and starts to think for himself. He starts to seek his own truth and not the truth he’s been told all his life. And he finds it. He throws a wrench in the whole operation. He proves to Christof that life cannot be controlled or scripted. Real life is unpredictable, and that’s the way he likes it.
Now I guess I should apologize to anyone reading this because I ruined the end of the movie . . . or did I? To find out you should check it out yourself and discover what makes it such a classic. I mean, it has to be good to be on my list? That’s what I think, anyway. Lets just hope they don’t decide to make a sequel.