Truman Show is not a movie you can watch once. It requires repeat viewings to fully grasp its nuances, and even then you still might not have a complete understanding. Of course, it’s easy to sit back and take the film at its surface level viewing without digging any deeper, and it’s a fine film on its own this way too.
Wildly original since it’s not based on a book or any other source, this is a film that that’s creative and an undeniable success. Jim Carrey was given a chance to break free from his Ace Ventura shtick into something with purpose thanks to this role. While there are brief moments of his previous characters, they’re replaced by a mellow, toned down Carrey who looking back, couldn’t have been cast better.
Driving the comedy and drama is Burkhard von Dallwitz’s score, beautifully composed with care. Truman Show handles both genres carefully, without ever crossing a line or stepping off track. You’ll laugh and cheer for Truman along with the crowd watching him.
If there’s any complaint, it’s that the morals of what is happening to Truman are only briefly touched on. There’s one scene which tells the audience of protests and groups asking for Truman to be set free, but the discussion is brief. There’s little to dissect, although the audience is likely aware of how they stand on the situation regardless of how the screenwriter handled the scene.
Truman Show could be one of the best of the mainstream films to come out of the late ‘90s. It’s an inventive film, way ahead of its time in terms of reality television and general concept. There’s nothing else like it, and if for nothing else, that’s reason enough to see it.
The number of problems with this Blu-ray release in terms of its video are insurmountable. It’s hard to know where to begin, but we’ll start with the fact that the video has been stretched horizontally. It’s not always noticeable, but faces are fatter and circles are obviously being pulled sideways. The film should have a ratio of 1.85:1, but Paramount stretched it out to fit the standard widescreen TV.
DNR has been noticeably applied, making nearly every shot tough to discern from the DVD. Detail is all but completely washed out, giving the movie a flat, ugly, muddy appearance. Flesh tones are completely wrong. Facial detail is still partially preserved in extreme close ups, noticeably as Ed Harris is talking during the finale. Even that looks overly processed. Edge enhancement is extensive and a constant issue, although not as bad as the DNR. There’s no excuse for garbage like this to be on the market.
The TrueHD audio mix at least has something to talk about that’s not completely negative. The few chances it has to show off include a nice yet brief rainstorm that fills the surround channels, the finale involving a storm at sea, and a flashback sequence. Bass is light and not as powerful as should be expected. City sequences are front loaded even with opportunity for ambient sounds. It’s serviceable, though not an all-out audio assault.
Extras are carried over from the Special Edition DVD. How’s it Going to End? is a wonderful look back on the film from nearly all involved. It runs for 40 minutes, and if you enjoyed the movie, this is a must see. Faux Finishing dissects the special effects you likely didn’t even know were there for slightly over 13 minutes. Four deleted scenes run about the same length as the latter, filling in no real gaps in the story making them wise deletions. A photo gallery and trailer are all that’s left.