Describe at least one important technique used in the written text.
Explain how this technique helped you to understand one or more key ideas.
“My life is like the Truman show.” This is a simile that can often be heard in philosophical discussions, and is referencing Peter Weir’s 1998 film The Truman show. An important idea in this 1998 film is the idea that truth is subjective. We’re presents this idea to the audience through the use of various film techniques, including dramatic irony, symbolism and colour and lighting. This idea is important, as it stimulates emotional responses in the audience and can be linked outside of the text to Plato’s Allegory of The Cave.
Weir introduces the idea that truth is subjective to the audience in the exposition, by using the film technique, dramatic irony. An example of this is the fake credits at the start of the film. This ironic as it is essentially fake credits at the start of a fake film about someone living a fake life. This links to the idea as it confuses what is real with what is simulated. Showing how both can be subjective realities. Weir uses this technique to make the audience feel excited and interested, by subverting film convention. Weir continues to use dramatic irony to build on this idea in the exposition through the use of the word LIVE on shots of Truman that other characters are watching, illustrating how in our desperation for something real, we ironically create simulations of reality that are in the end not real at all. This links to the idea as its shows how these simulations become the new normal and anything else seems unknown or unusual. The idea that truth is subjective is an important idea in the Truman show as Peter Weir’s examples of this through language techniques in the expositions gets the audience to think, an can be linked outside of the text to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, where the prisoners in the cave have created the shadows to be real to them as they have never known differently, like how Truman perceives his “fake” life to be real as it is what he has been shown to be “normal.”
After setting up the idea that truth is subjective in the exposition, Weir builds on this at the turning point of the film through the use of symbolism. An example of this is through his use of colour in the mid shots of Sylvia at the beach, with her red cardigan symbolising love and truth. Since red is traditionally a warning colour, the recollection of memories of Sylvia could act as a red flag to Truman, foreshadowing the fact that he could be deceiving himself. This links to the idea a s it represents Truman’s quest for truth in a postmodern world. Weir builds on this idea in the turning point by presenting a closeup of Truman piecing together parts of magazines to recreate Sylvia’s face. This represents piecing together objective information from the outside world, and link to the idea as it shows Truman’s efforts to make meaning of a world of simulation. This makes the audience feel small and modest, as it poses the question, while truth may be subjective, is the closest we can come to it through the ability to think for ourselves? The idea that truth is subjective is an important idea in The Truman show, as, like in the exposition, Weir’s examples of this in the turning point can be linked to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. While the shadows will never fully show the prisoners what the outside world would be like, piecing them together would be the closest thing to truth without actually going outside to see it, and is similar to Truman trying to piece together pictures to recreate Sylvia’s face on his quest for truth.
In addition to presenting the idea that reality is subjective in the exposition and turning point, Weir concludes this illustration in the denouement, through the use of colour and lighting. An example of this is when Truman is in the boat searching for truth, and Weir adds an orchestrated storm making everything dark and grey; colours with connotations of fear and uncertainty. This represents the uncertainty of the quest, and links to the idea as it emphasises the blurring of the real and the imagined, creating a happy and hopeful audience response, and they wonder if the imagines is ultimately subjectively real. Weir continues to use colour and lighting to build on this idea in the denouement, when Truman finally ouches the edge of the dome. This represents how the line between reality and simulation has finally become clear, and links to the idea as it shows how Truman’s previously subjective reality has finally become clear, and links to the idea as it shows us how Truman’s previously subjective reality has now become more objective . The idea that truth is subjective an important idea in the Truman show, as, like in the exposition and turning point, Weir’s examples of this idea in the denouement can be linked to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. Like the prisoners, Truman finally realizes that he is in a cave and has so much more to experience in the real world.
Throughout the text, Peter Weir has consistently been showing the audience the idea that truth is subjective. This has been expressed via various film techniques including dramatic irony, symbolism, and colour and lighting. In doing so, he is able to stimulate audience emotional responses, and his examples are able to be linked outside of the text to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. As stated by the Guardian, “[The Truman Show]” succeeds in persuading people to look at the world that they’re living in, and to reflect on what is being done to them.