This is based on an essay I have previously written, but wanted to try to tailor to a question from a different year.
Describe at least one important technique used in the text(s).
Explain how the use of the technique created impact, supporting your points with visual and / or oral language features.
“My life is like the Truman show.” This is a simile that can often be heard in philosophical discussion and is referencing Peter Weir’s film, the Truman show. Weir has used a variety of important techniques throughout this film, including dramatic irony, symbolism, and colour & lighting, to create impact on the audience by developing the idea that reality is subjective, and stimulating emotional responses. These techniques are also important as the examples can be linked outside of the text to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.
Weir uses the important film technique, dramatic irony, to set up the idea that reality is subjective in the exposition. An example of this is how he uses fake credits at the start of the film, introducing Truman Burbank as himself. This is ironic, as Weir has used fake credits at the start of a fake film about someone living a fake life, and creates impact by linking to the idea that reality is subjective by confusing what is real with what is simulated, showing how both options can be subjective realities. This makes the audience feel excited and interested by subverting film convention. Weir continues to use irony to build on this idea with his use of the word LIVE on shots of Truman that other characters are watching. This illustrates how in our desperation for something real, we ironically create simulations of reality that are in the end not real at all, and creates impact by linking to the idea as it demonstrates how these simulations become the new “Normal,” and anything else seems unusual. The techniques that Weir has used in the exposition are important as the examples can also be linked outside of the text to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. The prisoners in the cave have created the shadows to be real to them as they have never know differently, like how Truman perceives his “fake” life to be real as it is what he has been shown to be “normal.”
After using dramatic irony to create impact in the exposition, Weir continues to add to this in the turning point through the use of symbolism. In using this important technique, Weir is able to create impact by developing the idea that reality is subjective. He conveys this through the colour used in the wide-shot of Sylvia, with her red cardigan symbolizing warning 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 technique creates impact as it can be linked to the idea by representing Truman’s quest for truth in a postmodern world. Weir uses symbolism to build on this idea in the turning point, by using a closeup shot to highlight Truman piecing together parts of magazines to recreate Sylvia’s face. This represents piecing together objective information in the outside world, and creates impact by linking to the idea by demonstrating Truman’s efforts to make meaning of a subjective world of simulation. This makes the audience feel pensive but small buy posing the question, while truth may be subjective, is the closest we can come to it through the ability to think for ourselves? The techniques that Weir has used in the turning point are important as the examples can also be linked back 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 using important techniques to present 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. When Truman is in the boat searching for truth, Weir adds an orchestrated storm making everything dark and grey; colours with connotations of fear and uncertainty. This represents the uncertainty of the quest. This creates impact by linking to the idea through emphasising the blurring of the real and imagined. This makes the audience feel happy and hopeful, as they might wonder if the imagined is ultimately subjectively real. Weir uses colour and lighting to build on this idea in the turning point when Truman finally touches the edge of the dome, and the storm disappears, representing how the line between reality and simulation has finally become clear. This creates impact as it links to the idea by demonstrating how Truman’s previous subjective reality has now become more objective. The techniques that Weir has used in the turning point are important as the examples can again be linked back 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 using important film techniques to create impact through illustrating the idea that truth is subjective. These techniques include dramatic irony, symbolism, and colour and lighting. In using these techniques, Weir 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.