Posted on 10/29/12 10:18 PM
To state the obvious: Humanity is continually moving into the future with rapid progression in technology. From the use of the spear to the sensation of global communication provided from the internet; technology is proving to be a valued commodity within society. A notable achievement within the technology realm is the Television; a device that has ultimately become popular within mass-culture with it's condescending and catechizing power. In the age of 'Big Brother' and 'Survivor', it's quite evident that 'Reality Television' has become an immensely popular aspect. 'The Truman Show' focuses as a satirization of such popularity, and while the idea of 'the media hiding the truth' seems tiresome and obvious, it's quite shocking to see that the film resembles an actual present representation of the power of contemporary television.
The film revolves around the man of the hour, Truman (Carrey). Truman occupies an idealistic world; he has the friendly neighbors, the great job, the beautiful wife and the best friend, the American Dream right? However, despite such virtues there are a few things that are missing within Truman's life. His father supposedly drowned when he was a kid, he wants to travel to Fiji but is constantly disallowed and he has lost his true love, which Truman poignantly attempts to recreate through magazine clippings. Truman's world is artificial. His life is idealistic because the world he inhabits is a reality TV show, dubbed 'The Truman show'. Truman focuses as a puppet for the creator of the show, Christof (Harris).
Just from a quick summary of the plot details, it's quite evident with such a concept that the film could of easily fell into the pits of a melodramatic affair with such an extremity example; thank god for Carrey. Gaining recognition from films such as 'Dumb and Dumber' and 'Liar Liar', it's unfortunate to see that Carrey has fallen under his own personal stereotype of that 'Comic actor that plays dumb people well', and while his performance of such characters are memorable, it's so much more rewarding to watch Carrey play a character that creates a balance between the comedic and emotional aspects rather than a focus on his comedic ease. Similar to his performance in 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind', Carrey creates a character that is easy to sympathize with; Truman is a normal man who wants normal ideals rather than being the star of Televisions most popular show, and in the end, we are cheering for his freedom just as much as the audience.
As the plot unfolds, Carrey questions this 'Reality'. Initially, Truman is treated to number of clues that lend to his suspicion, however, the creators continual use their props to cease Truman's questioning. Eventually, Truman pushes the limits of his jurisdiction through a number of hilarious comedic sequence with Carrey and his 'Wife' (Linning). Truman is trapped within his own prison, his actions consist of no purpose when everything reacts to his personal response. Through these sequences, Weir is obviously providing the social commentary of modern technology restricting individuals liberation and privacy: To what point must an individuals life become a form of emotional exploitation for the audience benefits? 'The Truman show' explores these themes that contain evident resonance to modern media and it's obsession of obtaining every detail of individuals life's.
Despite these virtues, the film at times does become tedious, as the drama seems to arise from repetitive motivations; Truman gets a clue, challenges them and then finds himself back to normal due to the creators innovation. Thankfully, Truman goes the whole nine yards through the conclusion. Truman devises a plan that diverts the attention away from his actions and uses a boat to travel to the real world. One of the most brilliant aspects of the film's ending and Truman's triumphs is that we realize how much emotional investment we have within the protagonist; his final sequences are truly poignant. Through the ending Truman comes into contact with Christof, his maker. Christof offers him the choice of choosing between the idealistic or realistic world. In brilliant fashion, Truman simply replies "If i don't see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night." After this triumphant moment, Weir shows two of the audience who neglect this monumental moment and simply wonder what the next TV show is. Weir's final commentary focuses on the TV's brainwashing power; even after watching such a moment of a man displaying the problems with having a TV show that violates the ethics of an individuals right, there may be some who attempt to solve the problem, but most of the mass culture will continue to act as passive receivers to the TV's catechizing power. Weir is ultimately suggesting that we must question the power that the TV withholds on the world.
As a great artist once said "Television rules the nation."