Peter Weir’s deconstruction of televisual voyeurism is one of those rare Hollywood products; an intelligent but accessible movie, that feels as fresh today as when it debuted ten years ago. Prophetic in its satirical representation of reality television (the first version of Big Brother debuted in the Netherlands a year after the film’s release), Andrew Niccol’s script takes the concept of watching normal life as entertainment to logical extremes. Carrey’s Truman Burbank has been the unwitting star of his very own globally syndicated show since being born live on TV; unbeknown to him, everything about his quaint lifestyle on the perfect island community of Seahaven is a fabrication, with hidden cameras following his every move for the entertainment of the viewing public. The only thing better than the brilliant concept is Carrey; known beforehand simply as a rubber-faced comic, he’s nothing less than a revelation in his first dramatic role, bringing depth and likeability to the protagonist. And as Truman descends into the ultimate paranoid fantasy, the film expands to include Ed Harris’s misguided TV producer, as well as the show’s dedicated global fan base. Aurally, the disc’s TrueHD track also impresses, with the selection of tracks from composer Philip Glass’s catalogue working particularly well, while Truman’s increasingly unbelievable surroundings benefit from a number of background effects culminating in a climactic man-made storm. The opening few seconds of The Truman Show suggest that Paramount’s transfer might not be up to much but, thankfully, the shots just happen to be of a television screen – the rest of the film is crisp, despite minimal levels of noise. Truman’s world is a throwback to the golden age of TV, and on Blu-ray the film’s retro-Fifties stylings are nicely represented. Unfortunately, Paramount has seen fit to adjust the film’s original aspect ratio to fill a 16:9 screen; it’s hardly noticeable, but results in a horizontally stretched image all the same, while moderate edge enhancement and DNR will put off purists. The Blu-ray doesn’t fulfil it’s potential in the extras department either, with supplemental content replicated from the Special Edition DVD. The two featurettes are quite interesting, especially anything director Peter Weir has to say, but Carrey’s input seems to have been hastily compiled, while the lack of a commentary for what is such a modern classic is disappointing, but perhaps not unsurprising for a film just over a decade old.
Feature: Extras: Picture: Audio:
Director: Peter Weir
Starring: Jim Carrey, Ed Harris, Laura Linney
Released: Out now