Apr 162007

Last week, while the PC was playing dead, I re-saw Peter Weir’s, almost prophetic, The Truman Show

Long before (well actually, a couple of years before) popular reality shows that dot the tv landscape, or the 24 by 7 Big Brother style coverage, The story, for those who haven’t’ watched it, is simple. Truman Burbank – played by Jim Carey – is the star of the 24*7 reality soap – [tag] The Truman Show [/tag]. Except that he doesn’t know that his life is a soap, and all his friends and relatives are characters. As he slowly begins to realize that his life is not quite what it seems, he begins making plans to escape it.

Ed Harris who plays God – the TV producer Christos – whose brain child is the TRuman Show – is chillingly accurate when he says:

We’ve become bored with watching actors give us phony emotions. We are tired of pyrotechnics and special effects. While the world he inhabits is, in some respects, counterfeit, there’s nothing fake about Truman himself. No scripts, no cue cards. It isn’t always Shakespeare, but it’s genuine. It’s a life.

If any of us wonder, why reality is doing well, this is as good a reason as any. At the core we see everything hanging out, and that is what hooks us to come back. We want to see the ugliness and the naked emotion. I am not sure whether we want to see people win as much as we want to see them lose.

The Truman Show remains one of my two favourite films on the media, the other one being Network If you haven’t seen either film, do try and snatch a view. Both are very different in nature, and both are entertaining views.

Apart from being a comment on the nature of TV, the film is primarily about individual liberty. It asks the intrinsic question, is a well ordered, comfortable, ‘prison’ better than an uncertain future ?

There are moments when I feel like Truman. I want to drown my mobile, unplug my computer, burn my credit cards and go off into the mountains. But, is that really freedom?