Peter Weir: The '90s
The Truman Show (January 16/09)
Anchored by an admittedly irresistible premise, The Truman Show quickly establishes itself as an engaging drama that benefits substantially from Jim Carrey's unexpectedly layered (and flat-out moving) performance. The film casts Carrey as Truman Burbank, an insurance salesman who is unknowingly the star of an hugely successful reality show revolving entirely around his life - with his various loved ones, including wife Meryl (Laura Linney) and best friend Marlon (Noah Emmerich), portrayed by actors whose every movement is dictated by the series' enigmatic producer (Ed Harris' Christof). It's worth noting that screenwriter Andrew Niccol generally does a superb job of ensuring that The Truman Show's high-concept nature never negates the authenticity of the characters, as the various figures have been infused with a layered sensibility that's slowly-but-surely revealed as the storyline unfolds (ie Truman's impossibly sunny demeanor masks a restless, almost tortured psyche). The deliberate pace employed by filmmaker Peter Weir generally proves an ideal complement to Niccol's contemplative script, yet Carrey's hypnotic turn as the central character does ensure that one's interest flags as Truman temporarily vacates the proceedings during the third act. The loss of momentum that results is relatively easy to overlook, however, and there's certainly no denying the strength of the haunting, downright affecting conclusion - thus cementing The Truman Show's place as an entertainingly prescient piece of work.