The Truman Show, 1998. Directed by Peter Weir. Jim Carrey, Laura Linney, Ed Harris.

This interesting metafiction about a man whose whole life is a television show without his knowing about it has a premise worthy of Philip K. Dick (eg. Time Out of Joint, et al) but it makes two crucial errors in bringing it off. The first error is that the marketeers behind the movie gave away the plot in their campaign to sell the movie--the film is structured in such a way that this would be a great bombshell to drop on unsuspecting audiences. More troubling than this is the lack of interpersonal relationships on display in the movie. Jim Carrey as the title character is a revelation in his role, but he is performing in a vacuum. He never has a face to face scene with Ed Harris's television producer and architect of Truman's television life. While it is entirely possible that this is one of the points of the movie--that television life is empty of life and passion--it makes for an emotionally detatched, arid movie that all of the visual invention director Peter Weir brings to bear on the movie can't quite pull off. I am inclined to like any movie that steals mise en scene from Rene Magritte and I like The Truman Show, but when all is said and done, it isn't a whole lot more than an empty exercise in style.

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