The Truman Show (1998) starring Jim Carrey, Ed Harris, Laura Linney, Noah Emmerich, Natascha McElhone, Holland Taylor, Brian Delate, Blair Slater, Peter Krause, Heidi Schanz, Ron Taylor, Don Taylor Ted Raymond directed by Peter Weir Movie Review

The Truman Show (1998)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Jim Carrey as Truman Burbank in The Truman Show

The Jim Carrey Show

I'll be honest; I really disliked "The Truman Show" when it was released in 1998, maybe because it wasn't like anything else that Jim Carrey had done before or maybe because I just didn't get it. But a few years later and having watched "The Truman Show" again in the hope that maybe it had improved with age and not only did I enjoy it, I also appreciated how well Jim Carrey portrayed the character of Truman.

Ever since he was born, Truman Burbank's (Jim Carrey - Liar Liar) life has been broadcast on TV for the whole world to see, except Truman doesn't realise this or that the world he lives in is in fact a huge studio full of actors who pretend to be his friends. But a series of strange occurrences cause Truman to question what he believes and sees.

Ed Harris as The Creator in The Truman Show

The story line to "The Truman Show" can be looked at in two ways. Firstly you can approach it from a purely entertainment factor as we watch Truman become aware of the strange goings on in his town, which seem to revolve purely around him and then watch him slowly work out that what he has believed and trusted all his life may not be what he thinks it is. Then you can look at "The Truman Show" from a much deeper view point, is it trying to make a statement about religion, with the Creator of the show taking on the role of God, or maybe even deeper with him taking on the role of the devil and misleading the poor Truman. Personally I prefer to look at the Truman show purely on the entertainment factor and enjoy a storyline which was a departure from the usual over the top slap stick which we had become accustomed to when watching Jim Carrey.

The only real problem I have with the storyline is the fact that it is so unbelievable that you really have to suspend disbelief to fully enjoy it. The scale of operation it would take to stage such a reality show would be so immense that it could never happen, and so when certain things happen in the film you just have to take them for granted. On the positive side, is that in some ways it intelligently takes the mickey out of reality shows, and one of my favourite scenes of "The Truman Show" involves Truman being accosted everyday by a couple of twins who talk to him whilst standing in front of a poster which features that days sponsor of the show.

Up until the release of "The Truman Show" I had only really considered Jim Carrey as a one trick wonder, who would fill his films with strange voices and pulling faces, as he adequately did in the like of "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" and "The Mask". But "The Truman Show" allowed Carrey to show that he was able to take on roles which actually required him to act. Of course there is a fair amount of opportunity for Carrey to goof about and play the fool, but there are also plenty of scenes which shows that he can deliver his lines with a modicum of meaning. This is not to say that Carrey puts in an amazing performance as a semi serious actor, but it is definitely a refreshing change to his usual style.

The only other performance and character which really deserves a mention is that of The Creator, played by Ed Harris who is not only the brains behind the Truman Show but basically lives and breathes it 24/7. For someone who usually portrays tough army types in movies, Ed Harris puts in a pretty good performance as a somewhat arty producer of a TV show.

Of course, a film cannot survive with just two characters, and there is a whole range of supporting characters played by lesser know actors and actresses. Although some of the performances are of a reasonable standard, it does seem quite a mixed bag as to whether the character and the performance is any good. Maybe this was done on purpose to illustrate that we were watching a reality show, but sadly I found this detracts from the overall enjoyment of The Truman Show.

"The Truman Show" is directed by Peter Weir and was a departure from his usual type of movie which includes "Dead Poets Society" and "Witness". What I feel Weir has achieved with "The Truman Show" is to create a movie with serious undertones which also entertains on a humorous level. To be honest, he hasn't done anything really special with this film, but in the same breath has done nothing wrong with it either. The film moves along at a decent pace, and asks a few questions which doesn't require you to suspend disbelief, but other than that it is purely an enjoyable and well directed movie.

What this all boils down to at that although I originally disliked "The Truman Show", I now have to admit that it is quite a good film which has a very clever premise for a movie. Although it does require you to suspend disbelief to fully enjoy it, it does manage to transport you into Truman's world so that this does become easier. What is particularly good about "The Truman Show" is that it allowed Jim Carrey to prove that he was capable of more than just acting the fool, although he still has a long way to go before I would ever consider him capable of handling a truly serious role. Whether or not there is a far deeper meaning to the story behind "The Truman Show", it remains a highly entertaining film which at just under 2 hours is just the right length.