David Thomson, whom Kent Jones used to aptly describe as now “passionate in being embarrassed about once taking films seriously,” praised The Truman Show free online as “the movie of the decade” upon its first release.
Just the dandiest quote to beautify the DVD box with, but almost 10 years have passed, and now that the nuclear hyperbole has dissipated, can Peter Weir’s self-reflexive tale stand next to Dead Man, A Taste of Cherry, Underground, Les Amants du Pont-Neuf and Unforgiven, just to name a few of the true icons of the ‘90s? If anything, the film’s vision of voyeurism-writ-pop supposedly anticipated the drool of today’s Reality TV, though even then Albert Brooks got there first with 1979’s Real Life, a far richer, less pompous work. No, The Truman Show full movie is all ingeniousness and concept, with any potential subversion and radicalism submerged beneath stunning, viewer-flattering polish.
The setting is an interesting dystopia, even more plastic than the one writer Andrew Niccol devised in Gattaca—a life served up, from embryo to adulthood, for media’s thirst, unknowingly living inside an artificial town-studio for the sake of the TV cameras. Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) muddles through life in the seemingly utopian island of Seahaven, where everyone, even his family and friends, is playing a role, and his every move is caught and delivered to audiences outside through a hidden control room operated by the show’s creator, Christof (Ed Harris). Since Truman leads an absolutely normal life, the emphasis of the satire falls on the audience, who will witness anything just because it’s on and, accordingly, receive the brunt of the movie’s derision, reduced to fat-assed security personnel, old biddies, gesticulating Japanese couples, and smeared waitresses. Christof, on the other hand, gets off easy, not as a manipulative patriarch-figure orchestrating reality but as a wonderful cultural messiah who just had the bad luck of having his work readily devoured by the stupidity of the public.
The Truman Show full movie free benefits largely from Weir’s gift for the subtle stylization of enclosed worlds (see Picnic at Climbing Rock, The Last Wave, The Year of Living Dangerously), and remarkable moments still lingering—a studio light crashing down out of the spotless blue sky, the “cue the sun” call, and the literal edges of Truman’s world colliding with a getaway ship. Still, the intimations of profundity, of reality perceived, mediated, and processed, are milked for heavy irony instead of increasing complexity, whereas the much-praised casting of Jim Carrey falls flat—the character needed a methodical blank, an empty vessel, not Jimmy Stewart gimmick in an invisible straitjacket. (As his frozen-in-the-‘50s beaming wife, Laura Linney is one-hundred-percent caricature.) A friend of mine used to call Christof “Spielberg,” but the truth is that, for all their imperfections, Spielberg’s examinations of humanity and technology abound in courageous ideas; in contrary, Weir and Niccol simply purvey unthreatening, self-satisfied cleverness. “The Movie of the Decade”? Barely the “Handjob of the Year,” really.