Jim Carey is Truman Burbank, a man whom unknowingly stars in a reality television. Every moment of his life is brought to millions of viewers around the world, all of the people around him are actors, and all of the situations that Truman has to confront are scripted by the reality television studio, yet Truman knows nothing of this. It reminds me of Philip K Dick (his novel “Time out of Joint”, in particular), and I wouldn’t be surprised if someone told me it was actually a liberal adaptation of one of his works, or that the script writer claimed an influence in PKD.
The story is not merely about Truman finding out about the reality of his situation, though (the situation Truman is in is made quite clear to the viewer early in the movie, particularly when part of the plot of the movie is about the influence that the show exerts on it’s viewers) but Truman actually having to escape from the set that is his life, and having to overcome the obstacles that the director instigates to prevent Truman from escaping.
The idea of unknowingly being in a reality television show is an excellent idea for a movie, (the escape from it enjoyable but not as good) and prefaces the concerns of reality television quite well (since the movie was made in 1998, and reality television shows like Big Brother were only beginning to come into public attention at this time). It’s also interesting to see how “The Truman Show” was filmed, with some of the shots in the movie used would be what we as a viewer would see actually viewing “The Truman Show” were this real life. It’s a good filming technique for this movie, and I would have liked to have seen more of the movie filmed in this manner.
One of my criticisms of the movie is that I would like to have learnt more about the technology and the society of the world Truman is depicted to live in, compared to the world outside. What does Truman’s world know about television and video technologies, for example? Are there books or movies that aren’t available in Truman’s fake world, apart from those about Truman himself? It’s obvious that the technology outside is quite different to that of the present point in time, but how different it is to the world that Truman inhabits is not shown, and I think that the movie would have been more interesting had this been considered and discussed.
In spite of the lack of world-building for Truman’s contrived world, “The Truman Show” is quite an interesting movie, and worth viewing, particularly if you liked Dickian-themed stories. 4/5.