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TRUMAN SHOW, THE

SYNOPSIS:
Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) was born live (unaware of the pun) on global television, adopted by the tv station, and his every moment recorded on camera. He lives in a giant studio world, created by set designers (so large it’s visible from space) – but doesn’t realise it. He is married to Meryl (Laura Linley) after having mysteriously lost contact with a girl he really loved, Lauren (Natascha McElhone). This ultimate in reality-tv is conceived, produced and directed by Christof (Ed Harris), who populates Truman’s world with manicured streets, aesthetically soothing architecture, pleasant folk who wave cheery hellos and who never get cross, a small seaside world where crime doesn’t exist and happiness is the legal tender. But something is missing from Truman’s life.

"Unavoidably, The Truman Show will be labeled by some as a profound indictment of the media’s worst practices, its most manipulative excesses. But the beauty of the film, its biggest claim to immediate classic status is its multi-faceted interior; it is a film that has as many sides as a prism, each giving a different refraction of the truth. New Zealander Andrew Niccol’s script is first and foremost a great yarn, a story with a basically simple structure, with little man winning against big corporation … oh-oh, already we’re talking about metaphors and parables and similes. The Truman Show invites such analysis because of its galactic leap of faith in the script, and in the audience. It allows us, indeed invites us, to THINK. And it is still a darned good entertainment, never short of emotion; THAT’s why it is succeeding to attract mainstream America, not a market renowned for embracing intellectually stimulating films – no offence intended. It is also superbly directed, acted, designed and scored. If you see it as a damnation of the media, fine; others may see it as an ode to individual freedoms. Or as a hymn to our instinctive belief in the sanctity and unique value of each individual human being – the minutiae of his life, ordinary in every other sense, is sufficient to hold mass audiences in thrall. The reverse, of course, is also valid: American audiences are sheep, as ready to digest a man’s life as they are a fast burger. Me, I see it as a scalpel-like allegory for religion - the Christian Church and in particular, a damnation of its benign nature as a control-freak. Take a look at The Truman Show’s creator, Christof – his brown beret standing in for the gold halo of Christ, his credo of giving Truman the kind of kind world we ‘should’ be living in ….And his sarcastic line, "Somebody help me, I’m being spontaneous," easily equates to the notion that God’s gift of free will is supposed to set us free. I know it looks too obvious, but sometimes the obvious is obvious because it’s obvious, if you see what I mean. Anyway, everything works, from the brilliant performances - Carrey is stunningly credible, pathos and irony, stubbornness and intelligence raging against the darkness of his horizons – to the brilliant production values. This is a brilliant, unique, unforgettable film."
Andrew L. Urban

"Trumania is here! One of the most eagerly awaited films this year, The Truman Show splendidly marries imagination with craft and flair, resulting in a wonderful adventure coloured by elements of psychology, manipulation, conscience, dependency and freedom. To begin with, the concept is innovative, imaginative and despicably delicious – and we the viewers, together with the entire cast (with the exception of Truman) are in on the gag! So there’s a feeling of unity, linking the mental state of the cast on the big screen with that of the audience. And it draws you in. Truman is such a decent, likeable chap, and we are rooting for him immediately. Jim Carrey is magnetic in the role, combining his quirky, colourful and comedic persona with that of a confused, vulnerable and very human being. Carey IS Truman, and exercises tremendous restraint and control, stretching his character like pliable plasticine. Ed Harris brings great complexity to his Playing God role. He is the obsessed puppeteer, pulling every string, but retains an element of decency and conscience that has long been camouflaged. It’s a sterling script that takes us beyond the looking glass into a world where life is orchestrated by the touch of a button. And Peter Weir knows the way. His direction captures every essence and element for which the film strives. There’s light and shade as we explore the chasm between what’s real and what’s contrived: after all, this is the greatest media hoax of all time! The careful balance between the light and fluff on the surface is counteracted by undertones of deeper, ponderous issues, while the simplicity of the melodic piano score, allows the intricate complexities to accumulate and simmer expectantly."
Louise Keller

"Blending perfectly with its subject, The Truman Show arrives in this country as a total media hype event: endless magazine articles, photos of Jim Carrey looking dreamy, and a seductive one-line concept. A smoothly orchestrated piece of work, the film itself doesn't add much. The premise resembles the convoluted paranoid fantasy of a Phillip K. Dick novel or David Cronenberg film; tension, however, is mostly absent, since the disappointingly straightforward plot unfolds not from inside Truman's bewildered consciousness, but from the godlike multiple perspectives of his worldwide fan club – skilfully simulated with various unusual camera angles and lenses. A specialist in over-the-top displays of fake emotion, Jim Carrey is a conceptually fascinating casting choice, though his air of springy resilience makes Truman less a character than an Everyman stick figure. Despite round-the-clock surveillance, this average guy is ultimately unknowable: the script's humanist point. The visual bravura of this slender whimsical parable recalls another recent fantasy from an expatriate Australian, where a lone hero again struggles to escape a sealed-off society patched together from second-hand media images. The white cottages and clear blue skies of Seahaven are the obvious flip side to the grimy noir streets of Alex Proyas' Dark City. The nostalgic beach scenes in both films confirm a link with the local tradition that runs from Weir's The Cars That Ate Paris to last month's Welcome To Woop Woop. Is The Truman Show another allegorical account of being trapped in paradise?"
Jake Wilson

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

PETER WEIR INTERVIEW

FEATURE

TRUMAN SHOW, THE (PG)
(US)

CAST: Jim Carrey, Laura Linney, Noah Emmerich, Natascha McElhone, Holland Taylor, Ed Harris, Brian Delate, Una Damon, Paul Giamatti, Philip Baker Hall, Peter Krause, John Pleshette, Heidi Schanz, Blair Slater

PRODUCER: Scott Rudin, Andrew Niccol, Edward S. Feldman, Adam Schroeder

DIRECTOR: Peter Weir

SCRIPT: Andrew Niccol

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Peter Biziou

EDITOR: William Anderson, Lee Smith

MUSIC: Burkhard Dallwitz (additional music Philip Glass)

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Dennis Gassner

RUNNING TIME: 102 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 24, 1998

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount

VIDEO RELEASE: February 2, 2006







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