With the beautiful, picturesque artifice of its production design and perpetual blue skies, it’s no real surprise that The Truman Show looks fabulous in 4K. Sharp, colorful and full of detail that was muted in the Blu-ray release, this one is definitely worth an upgrade for videophiles.
The film itself is, of course, a modern classic and often cited as Jim Carrey’s best film (at the very least, he was able to avoid being typecast as a 21st Century Jerry Lewis). In addition to being immediately conducive to his comedic persona, the character of Truman Burbank allowed him to demonstrate remarkable dramatic ability. If not for Truman, chances are he wouldn’t have even scored an audition for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (which I think is his best film).
Conceptually, The Truman Show was always irresistible (though not entirely original), with a charming protagonist who’s been the unwitting star of a reality show since birth. Conceived - and manipulated - by its head of production, Christof (Ed Harris), the show runs 24 hours a day, details his entire life and is watched by millions worldwide. The film ended up being somewhat prophetic in its satirical depiction of the media and the proliferation of reality entertainment.
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Revisiting The Truman Show 25 years later is an interesting experience. A lot has changed since then and its science-fiction elements are no longer speculative. Social media and personal technology has made sharing every aspect of your life incredibly easy. It’s not a stretch to imagine scores of people who’d happily consent to their lives being broadcast 24/7, meaning some ethical questions raised by the film might seem somewhat superfluous these days.
While The Truman Show remains both entertaining and insightful, I maintain my long-standing (minority) opinion that it makes a narrative mistake by immediately revealing that Truman is the oblivious subject of a TV show (not to mention a title and ad campaign that practically gives it away). There was a 1989 Twilight Zone episode with the same concept, except in that one, the protagonist’s discovery that his entire life is televised was the big twist. Watching Truman's personal crises as he uncovers clues to the ruse is engaging, but wouldn’t it have been more compelling if the audience was figuring it out along with him?
But hey…that’s just me and I suppose it’s a minor quip, since The Truman Show is an endearing modern classic with a great story, clever satire and timely themes. One of those “comfort movies” (as my daughter calls them), the film also remains rewatchable, with plenty of clever aesthetic details that won’t be noticed with a single viewing. One would think a film this revered would warrant some new supplemental material commemorating its 25th Anniversary, but all that’s included are a few brief featurettes carried over from the previous Blu-ray release. Still, the 4K transfer is excellent and the film has never looked or sounded better.
4K, BLU-RAY & DIGITAL COPIES
FEATURETTES - “How’s It Going To End? The Making of The Truman Show”; “Faux Finishing: The Visual Effects of The Truman Show.”