The Truman Show: An Imperfect Utopia?

999 words - 4 pages

In the film The Truman Show by director Peter Weir, the viewer is presented with a rural utopia. The star of this paradise is a life insurance salesman named Truman Burbank, portrayed by Jim Carrey. As we go through Truman's day we see how the world, literally, revolves around him and yet, we see that it is not a world at all, but a set. In fact, as the television narrator informs the viewer, it is "one of the only man-made objects visible from space." At the helm of this television marvel is the show's director, Christof, played by Ed Harris. From the beginning the viewers can realize that Christof has been a type of babysitter for Truman - guiding and controlling his life of complete perfection. But even in this life of complete happiness and perfection, there is an overbearing sense of imperfection, of a breaking point looming on the horizon. As Peter Weir tries to develop this perfect world within a world, he seems to purposefully leave out an important element present in any utopia - that of imperfection. Weir conveys this absence of daily strife with the use of camera angles, music, and lighting.Weir's use of camera angles throughout the movie helps to convey the missing imperfection in Truman's world. When we begin the day with Truman setting off for work, we see the same front-faced view of Truman waving to his neighbors as we saw the day before. He drives to work and we see the radio camera as we saw the day before, he walks into his work and we see him stopped and pressed up against the same wall talking to the same twins as the day before. This repetitive use of camera angles really shows the viewer the monotony of Truman's life. While nothing may happen to his physically, mentally we begin to see that this consistent life is what begins to tear at him as the close up shots of Truman become more apparent. As the movie continues to play we notice more slapped together-type shots. Incomplete shots that have boxes in the way, or Truman just plain is not present in the shots. These type of scenes really reflect the spontaneity and imperfection missing from Truman's life because as soon as we begin to see more of these shots, we realize how framed and timed the contrasting shots from the beginning of the movie were. But a movie cannot be made up of only camera angles, the music in this movie also plays a large role.Throughout the movie we hear, as well as see, how the music takes us to another level of imperfection. These sound clips of imperfection are usually coupled with the mounting camera angles that reflect the same. This coupling technique adds a complete and fully rounded sense of despair and ultimately that feeling one gets when he or she knows they have left something out. Imperfections in Truman's life, or patches of randomness,...

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