Truman Show Essay

Submitted By cherryhu2831
Words: 738
Pages: 3

Images are a powerful means through which insight can be gained into ideas and opinions on human nature because they present an illusion of reality that has universal appeal. In “The Truman Show” (1998), Peter Weir reveals ideas about the power imbalance in society, and the differing views on happiness and utopia. “The Truman Show” also highlights the lengths to which the media is willing to go in order to gain an audience.
Through “The Truman Show”, Peter Weir shows his disapproval for the way in which the media is permitted to dictate people’s lives in contemporary society. The media’s control over society is symbolised the persona of Christof, whose dark clothing, black beret and symbolic name portray him as a controlling figure who is influencing every aspect of Truman’s life. Christof’s exploitation of Truman’s fears in the flashback to the dark storm where Kirk stages his death shows the lengths to which the media is willing to go in an effort to control the people. When Truman attempts to escape from Seahaven in a boat, Christof doesn’t hesitate to maximise the wind and wave settings in an attempt to kill Truman. The futility of Truman’s attempts at freedom shows just how miniscule a human is when faced with the power of the media.
Weir criticises the way in which the media promotes the notion of utopia through allusions to the “American Dream”. Initially, Seahaven is portrayed as an ideal world, through the high angle establishing shot which uses high key lighting to reveal the uniform, pastel coloured suburban houses, neat gardens and manicured lawns. This image of predictable uniformity is quickly dismantled, however, as Weir begins to reveal that life in Seahaven in merely a charade. The low angle shot of Meryl looking down at Truman from the stairwell shows her to be condescending and overbearing; not at all a perfect, caring wife. Truman’s wariness of Meryl, seen in the way he hides Sylvia’s cardigan from her, shows that the controlled, utopian world which Christof created is, in Truman’s mind, a huge cage in which he is trapped. The mid-shot of Truman sandwiched uncomfortably between his controlling wife and his dominating mother while looking through a photo album reinforces this notion. Although Truman has been living what many would consider “the American dream”, his world is not truly a utopia, as Truman himself is discontented with his confinement.
“The Truman Show” is a thinly veiled criticism of the media’s lack of respect for privacy and freedom, often as a result of its thirst for power and attention. Weir’s portrayal of Truman’s entrapment was influenced by the death of Princess Diana, in which he believed both the paparazzi and the audience which consumed her public identity was at fault. In the beginning of the film, the closed frame of Truman in the television screen metaphorically suggests that he is trapped in his own world, and alludes to the fact that he is being…