How can I improve on this Truman Show essay and what grade would I get?

‘Cogito, ergo sum’ (I think, therefore I am). This statement by Rene Descartes is the only one to survive his Cartesian doubt and his Evil Demon Hypothesis. Descartes’ cartesian doubt is a systematic process of doubting whether one’s beliefs are true. In the film, ‘The Truman Show’ (1998), written by Andrew Niccol and directed by Peter Weir, we see this theory in practice through Trumans realization that his world is counterfeit. I believe the most important incident which changes events in the text is when he first turns away from his monotonous lifestyle in favour of risk-taking and adventure. Weir uses a range of shots, non-diegetic sound and symbolism to deliver this idea to us.
Peter Weir introduces this important incident to us by having Truman begin to realise he is being watched. Truman begins this realization when, after his radio flicks between different radio stations and static, the radio announcer dictates his turn onto ‘Lancaster Sq’ as he turns onto it, using a midshot from behind him to keep Truman in the shot, while still allowing us to view his surroundings. Weir then uses a point of view short to show Truman looking at the street sign, which says ‘Lancaster Sq’. As we connect these two shots, Truman connects these two moments. Truman then, focused on the street sign, almost crashes into a lady, and the radio emits a high-pitched noise and he winces. Everyone else also stops and clutches at their right ear, indicating that everyone is wearing an ear-piece connected to the same frequency. This foreshadows that everyone is connected to Truman, and the lies that Christof is feeding to Truman through his family and friends, and helps us to understand how much of Trumans life is being controlled by Christof, as we continue through the film. We can see the beginning of Trumans watershed moment, as he starts thinking about what is and isn’t real. Truman, unwittingly, is beginning to use Descartes cartesian doubt to establish what in his world is real or fake.
After setting up this important incident, Peter Weir brings Trumans watershed moment to a climax by showing us a visual representation of his thoughts. Weir begins to show us this through the use of non-diegetic sound (music). The tempo of the music, which began calmly and slowly and as diegetic sound being played through the radio, increases and the feeling portrayed by the music becomes more urgent. The beat of the music mimics a heartbeat rhythm which helps us to understand the pressure that Truman is feeling as it makes us feel as though our heart is pounding, just like it does when we are nervous. We then see Truman go to continue his normal daily routine by buying his usual paper and then changing his mind and walking away. His follower (a man, dressed like a stereotypical FBI agent from the early 1900s, hat, glasses and all, which is a subtle way of illustrating to viewers that Truman is never alone, or free to make his own choices. Additionally, it links to films like Shutter Island and A Beautiful Mind, where ‘agents; actually turned out to be figments of the protagonist’s imagination. This leads viewers to align with Trumans view but also to question his sanity at the same time, due to our distrust in the perspective of those other film characters) comes up to speak to the newspaper salesman just before the shot cuts. As we have seen this by the newspaper store previously, we can assume that he waits there to check that Truman comes through. This shows us that not only is Truman being recorded through cameras, he also has people following him to ensure his routine remains consistent. Truman then walks across the pristine street to his work (at an insurance firm), looking confusedly around all the while. He then enters the spinny door to his workplace. Trumans confusion is represented by character action – with Truman circling around and around the door. We are also shown Trumans confusion through the camera shot used; a tilted close up shot. This shows us Trumans thought process through his facial expressions. By the camera being tilted, unsteady and slightly blurred, it shows that Truman is insecure and looking for a plausible explanation to grasp onto. This music also continues to pick up, with the heartbeat rhythm even more noticeable, now making us feel as though we have our hearts in our heads. As Truman walks in circles, we see his two options – either he continues with his normal day-to-day life, by the entering into the dark workplace or the breaks away by entering into the light outside. The use of lighting is symbolic as Truman chooses light (truth) over dark (safety). Benjamin Franklin once said, ‘Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety’. Here we see Truman doing the opposite; giving away his safety in search of freedom and truth. As Truman exits the spinny door, the camera cuts to a long shot. This camera then, copying what Truman did earlier, looks around, as if confused, before seeing Truman and zooming in. this shows us that the cameraman and by extension Christof were not expecting Truman to break away from his normal routine. Truman then tries to act normal, by doing things like tying up his shoelaces, while he processes what he has seen and thinks about what to do. Throughout this part of the incident, we see Truman doubt his surroundings, begin to push his boundaries and see what happens if he does something he wouldn’t usually do.

After setting up and developing this important incident, Weir extends it further when Truman sees a normal lunchtime, outside of his work, with only diegetic sound. Truman sits stiffly, taking in the world around him until he sees his follower. Upon making eye contact, his follow walks swiftly away. Truman follows, with a hunch, walking straight out in front of a bus. Miraculously, the bus stops immediately. The same non-diegetic music starts up again as Truman continues to test his environment. He holds his hand out to stop another car, conducting traffic, just as Christof is conducting his world. We then see Truman begin to behave erratically. He sprints in one direction, before changing and sprinting back in the other direction to the police station. S he walks in, everyone looks up at him; while he is focused on walking to the lift, which closes just as he gets to it. As he is waiting for the lift to come back, the camera cuts back to the policemen, who are all talking into earpieces and looking at Truman anxiously. As the lift door opens, a policeman distracts Truman, hoping he won’t notice that the lift is back. The other woman who enters the lift with him ignores the fact that there is a false back to the elevator, standing there as if it were just a normal one. When Truman sees the hidden room, he freezes. The people inside the room rush to close the doors, and the policemen force him back out again, before brushing their hands off as if he were mere dirt. On leaving the police station, Truman swings and hits a man on a ladder, who doesn’t respond at all; he completely ignores the fact that Truman just hit him. Here we see Truman embracing the spirit of Descartes doubt; pushing his boundaries just to see how far he can push them. He goes through a moment of realization that not everything in his life is necessarily true.

Throughout the film, the Truman show, Weir effectively shows us Descartes cartesian doubt. He demonstrates this in the important incident in which Truman goes through his watershed moment to understand that not everything in his world was real. This incident changed events of the film, because if Truman had not undergone this moment of realization, he may have stayed accepting of his counterfeit world. Weir warns us to watch out for the parts of our lives that may not be entirely true – whether that be social media, politics or peers, and encourages us to believe that we should be critical of our surroundings.

Kiā ora
It would be useful to know which question you are answering here. You can have all the info and techniques but it needs to be tailored to the question.

Sorry, here you go:
Important incident which changed events in the film and how the important incident changed events

Kia ora Gemma

Great description of the incident itself with solid techniques used.

While this is an excellent essay in almost all respects - it could be a little clearer about how the incident “changes the course of events” - you really need to be explicit about how the main event impacted other events, or ideas, etc. Ultimately, you will not get an E unless you are really explicit about all parts of the question - I suggest you go back though and add some specific discussion of this so you are clear about what I mean.