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Autor: Fabian Neumann ; Datum: 03.10.2000 ; Note: 14 ; Download (rtf, 8kb)

Review on "The Truman Show"

Seahaven, an ordinary small town somewhere in the United States. Situated on an island it is the home for Truman Burbank, a mid-age and middle-class insurance agent. Luckily he lives with his wife Meryl in a nice residence. Everything seems to be perfect until one day strange things begin to happen. First it is a spotlight smashing on the ground, then the radio announcer knows what Truman is doing and suddenly all the people became suspicious of something he does not know yet. Step by step he recalls to some events of his youth. Distrust and doubt towards the world he lives in grow up in his mind. Feeling the need to quit his normal life Truman decides to move to the Fiji islands...

As the spectator gets to know, Truman is the star of the worlds most famous TV show ever. The conception overshadows all reality shows we know today. Truman's whole life in is unreal - is fake: all people are actors, everything is planned and observed by more than 5000 cameras that are installed invisibly and even the weather and atmosphere are simulated. Seahaven was completely built up in a tremendous studio, that is controlled from the so called "Lunar Room", where the producer, Christof, and his team do the co-ordination.

More than seven billion people saw Truman's birth. Early in his childhood he was "conditioned": with the death of his father, they let a strong fear of water arouse in him, that would make it impossible for him to escape from the island. And now, for thirty years every action of him was followed and broadcast live twenty-four hours a day to hundreds of countries. Merchandising and product-placement became a goldmine for the giant "Truman"-system. The only one who does not know of anything is Truman himself.

The movie is presented from a particular perspective, roughly divided into two different parts. On the one hand you have the plot around Truman and his daily life in Seahaven, and on the other hand there are the events in the "real" world, that means Christof, his team and the viewers world-wide. But the border vanishes when the story develops. The very special of the movie is the attempt to let it appear authentic: In the opening credits not Jim Carrey is introduced as the actor that plays Truman but Truman who plays "himself". Additionally, Christof welcomes the audience. You get the feeling you are watching "the show within the show". This is repeated a few times, for example when Christof explains the nuts and bolts of the technique or the creation and history of his "work of art".

What makes the film less plausible are some scenes where you get the insight how everything works. For example in the morning, when the walk-ons stand in freeze and wait for Truman. Furthermore that Truman notices that there are only three people on the street in his neighbourhood who drive in circles. In my mind this is exaggerated and would never happen if this show was really produced. The purpose of this may be to caricaturise the idea of the "Truman Show" itself and the godlike behaviour of Christof and his team. Although everything is very well organised and nearly perfect, such silly mistakes and illogical situations make the onlooker smile. One of the best scenes is "the hunt". All actors comb the set and shout for the missing star and in his despair Christof lets the sun rise within some seconds at four o'clock in the morning to get more light. The despair of Christof is also the reason for the (small) running gag of the film: every-time something does not work as expected Marlon, Truman's best friend, is sent out with a six-pack of beer to save the situation.

Jim Carrey, actually known as Hollywood's first-class comedian, is very convincing in his first serious role. The story is not dominated by long dialogs, but rather by actions, mimicry and gestures. Besides, the minor characters had an easy role, because they had just to act like actors, which often is funny. Though some funny scenes and strange ideas the film is an intelligent one, which considers the question of morality in today's world of media and entertainment as well as the social aspects and the "system" itself. It does not force to an opinion, because also Christof, as the "bad guy", has good reasons for his behaviour. The - more or less open - ending is very enigmatic for me, and I did not get behind it yet. When Truman... (no, I will not tell the end) But, why did the audience react as it did, in the end? How could they change their minds so fast. Was it the media-control, the over-kill, or just habit and laziness, that let them forget the moral?

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