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The Truman Show(1998)
Truman Burbank is a man whose life is a nonstop TV show. Really. His quaint hometown is a giant studio set run by a visionary producer/director/creator, folks living and working there are Hollywood actors, even his incessantly bubbly wife is a contract player. All Truman wants to do is find the true love of his life, but for some reason, the whole world seems against him...
For more about The Truman Show and the The Truman Show Blu-ray release, see the The Truman Show Blu-ray Review published by Ben Williams on December 29, 2008 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Director: Peter Weir
Writer: Andrew Niccol
Starring: Jim Carrey, Laura Linney, Ed Harris, Noah Emmerich, Natascha McElhone, Holland Taylor
» See full cast & crew
The Truman Show Blu-ray Review
A modern classic finally arrives on Blu-ray
Reviewed by Ben Williams, December 29, 2008
Jim Carrey has struggled to connect with audiences in recent years. Perhaps years of promoting his slapstick persona and his public quest for an Academy Award have worn thin. Things were a bit different back in 1998 when The Truman Show stunned audiences and signaled Mr. Carrey's entrance into the world of dramatic filmmaking. Director Peter Weir and writer Andrew Niccol challenged Carrey with a complex film that blended elements of science fiction, social commentary and a unique, paranoid vision of the future. The Truman Show is a remarkable film that has, for many viewers, fallen into obscurity as of late. Viewers willing to give the film another chance will be treated to a truly rewarding film that has aged remarkably well and has even become strangely prophetic in its ideas.
Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) is a sweet-natured insurance salesman in the idyllic town of Seaside. He's happily married, adored by his friends and family and seems to enjoy the perfect existence. Not all is well with Truman, however. He's haunted by the memory of a lost love (Natascha McElhone) and he feels a restless need to leave his life behind. As if to make matters worse, Truman keeps stumbling into perplexing situations where strange objects fall from the sky, strangers seem to know his name and he feels like he's being watched. Truman isn't crazy, however. He's the subject of the world's most popular TV show, "The Truman Show," and has been his entire life. Truman's existence has been staged and scripted by a television producer named Christof (Ed Harris). Christof will stop at nothing to ensure that Truman's entire life is lived out on television, even if that means killing him as part of the show.
As is normally the case with any Peter Weir film, The Truman Show plays out in a completely effortless manner. Perfect casting, a brilliant and thought-provoking script from Andrew Niccol as well as a wonderful musical score all add up to a film that is sure to earn a place in any viewer's memory. Much has been written and discussed about the film's religious themes. Truman exists in a meticulously created world that is very much akin to the garden of eden. The film goes to great lengths to show Truman's isolation within the "world's largest soundstage"- - actually a gigantic geodesic dome that seems to be sitting on top of the current location of Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank, California. Clearly, Truman's last name is a reference to this. Themes of temptation and mortality are at the core of Truman's story. Christof has made a career out of playing God in Truman's life and the film strikes the perfect balance of delivering a religious allegory without directly bashing the viewer over the head with an ideology. Some might find the film to be anti-religious while others might see the film in the opposite light. Regardless, The Truman Show is the kind of film that is so expertly crafted that it can mean a great many things to a great many people.
Jim Carrey is, obviously, the center of the film and he does a brilliant job of giving Truman a sympathetic voice that brings plentiful empathy to the character. Laura Linney is also remarkably convincing as Meryl; Truman's phony wife who has apparently had enough of her character. One of the most effective characters in The Truman Show is the film's music itself. Composers Philip Glass and Burkhard Dallwitz have crafted and intricate new-age score that borrows from Glass' distinguished body of work while building on his incredible talents at setting mood through music. They create an eerie soundtrack that underscores Truman's despair and emotional confusion that is both evocative and emotionally stirring.
I can't recommend The Truman Show strongly enough. It's a stunning masterpiece of a film that gets better with repeat viewings. It's a brilliant reminder of the heights that film can achieve when striving for originality and compelling stories. The Truman Show easily earns my highest recommendation.
The Truman Show Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Truman Show arrives on Blu-ray in fantastic 1080p transfer. The film's original matted aspect ratio of 1.85:1 has been opened up for this release, allowing the film to fill the entire 1.78:1 frame that is native in 16:9 high definition televisions. Fear not, however, as opening the matte does not cause any valuable picture information to be lost. Having seen The Truman Show a number of times, I was immediately impressed with the video quality evident in this release. The film looks fresh and crisp and doesn't suffer from distracting dirt or residue. It's about as pristine as they come. Artifacts are also a non- issue. I didn't detect a trace of edge enhancement, compression issues, banding or noise. There is a small amount of grain present in the film that becomes more readily apparent in dark scenes, but it never approaches excessive levels. Because The Truman Show was shot with a purposefully warm look, skin tones can occasionally veer into orange territory. I don't think this is the fault of the transfer; rather, it seems to be intentional. In a comparison to the film's original DVD release, this Blu-ray edition is a clear upgrade featuring significantly improved and more saturated colors, vastly increased detail and much more pleasing contrast and black levels. The Truman Show looks spectacular on Blu-ray.
The Truman Show Blu-ray, Audio Quality
I've been excited for quite some time to hear Philip Glass' amazing music for The Truman Show in wonderful Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless, and, boy, does this disc not disappoint. This stunning track's dynamics are among the best I've encountered on Blu-ray. Bass is thunderous and dynamic, surround usage is creatively employed and the film's piano-centric compositions have a weighty and expressive presence. And that's just the music! Dialogue is also perfectly rendered with nary a hiss or uneven syllable. The film's few action oriented scenes are also well presented with the occasional directional flourish and an abundant sense of atmosphere. It's an enveloping experience that adds to the building tension in Truman's quest of discovery. Highly recommended!
The Truman Show Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Here's what's included:
-How's It Going to End? The Making of The Truman Show
-Faux Finishing: The Visual Effects of The Truman Show
-Trailers & TV Spots
I wish I could say that The Truman Show was blessed with a massive collection of extras. Unfortunately, that's not the case. Instead, we've been given two unremarkable featurettes, several unimportant deleted scenes and a collection of trailers and TV spots. I'm always glad to have theatrical trailers included, but there's really not much else here worth diving into.
The Truman Show Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Truman Show is a remarkable film that explores our culture's fascination with voyeurism, celebrity and manipulation. It's a remarkable feat that this ten-year-old science fiction film was able to predict our society's current obsession with reality television while telling a profound story that isn't afraid to make statements about religion and morality. It's a film that is more profound now than it was upon its release in 1998. This Blu-ray release offers both near-reference quality audio and video, but is a bit skimpy on the extras. Fortunately, the real draw here is this magnificent film. The Truman Show is a modern classic that deserves to be in every Blu-ray library and easily earns my highest recommendation.
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