The Truman show” is more relevant than ever as it predicted the rise of ‘reality’ TV and a society under tremendous surveillance. Our modern world is filled with example of surveillance and it is fair to say that our privacy has come under threat because of this.
“The Truman Show’ has a common theme throughout the movie which shows the external and internal conflict that Truman Burbank who is this? is facing while he lives in Seahaven, an artificial town set in the 1940’s and 1950’s, which were seen as the Golden Years in America. It is in this utopia-style setting that we watch Truman develop and change from acting childish to becoming an adult responsible for his own decisions.
At the start of ‘The Truman Show’, viewers watch a close-up of Truman Burbank getting ready for his day. The camera angle from behind a mirror gives the viewer the idea that Truman is being watched by cameras set up throughout his home. Over the course of the movie, events such as a camera falling from the dome and Truman mistakenly tuning in to producers over his radio, makes Truman begin to question what is real and what is not.
During the movie, Truman attempts different ways to try and leave. At every attempt there is some type of fear or event that prevents Truman from being able to successfully leave. In one example, Truman goes to book a flight to Fiji. As viewers, we see close-up on posters about travel insurance and things that can go wrong. These are done from both high-angle and low-angle shots to draw in the viewer’s eye. The high-angle shot is of a poster listing off all the natural and unnatural disasters that could happen. The low-angle poster shot shows a plane being struck by lightning with the words “It could happen to you”. These are attempts to make Truman afraid of leaving. Why? Who tries to stop him leaving?
Christof who is this? uses different tactics to attempt to keep Truman in Seahaven. When Truman tries to leave by bus, his gearbox breaks and he is unable to leave. When Truman tries to get on a boat to leave, viewers see a sunken boat off to the side of Truman, which makes him become fearful due to flashbacks of his own father drowning. Truman also tries to leave by car, facing his fear of driving over a bridge. Once he arrives at the end of the road, he is faced with a fire and finally a police officer who tells him he cannot continue on.
Truman is seen and treated in a childish way at the beginning of the movie. The show’s producers use his lack of common sense and world experience as a way to keep him in Seahaven. In a flashback to his childhood, viewers watch as Truman’s fake father drowns at sea. This has a big impact on Truman and his fear of water, which is another way of preventing him leaving.
As the movie progresses, Truman begins to question his life, what is real and what is fake. When the camera falls from the dome, there is a high-angle close-up of Truman’s face to show his confusion and his suspicion. Truman begins to start moving away from his regular routine and begins doing things that are out-of-character. Such as, he follows Meryl to work and starts talking to his friend Marlon about his concerns.
As he changes, we see the control switch from the producer’s being in charge to Truman beginning to get more control over his own life. The producers have to find more and more ways to keep Truman in Seahaven and not make him suspicious. Truman begins to start working through his internal conflict of who he believes and what he trusts to be real.
The themes of conflict and control are even more relevant in today’s society. We have cameras, phones and satellites watching a lot of our movements and what we are doing. With social media and filters it is hard to know what is real and what is fake.
‘The Truman Show’ follows Truman Burbank on his discovery of what is real and what is fake in Seahaven. Viewers watch the external conflict as Truman attempts different ways of leaving Seahaven and the producer’s trying to keep him there. Then we see the internal conflict of him changing from a childish point of view to a more mature point of view. In the final scenes there is a high-angle shot on Truman, making him still appear small, while there is a low-angle shot of Christof, making him appear large and God-like, showing the difference in control.