The Screening Room
truman show
Imagine if Jim Carrey, a comic who can sometimes be really, really funny, and sometimes really, really annoying, made a serious film. Imagine if he made an effort to shed his normally comic persona to show that he was a real actor inside. He did and to my surprise, pulled it off well in "The Truman Show."

"The Truman Show" is now available on Blu-ray disc.

I didn't see the film when it was released theatrically in 1998. I was sick of seeing Carrey do his same rubber-faced routine in almost every movie he'd done. Don't think of me hating the guy, because I've found some of his roles to be very funny. Many of his characters on Fox's "In Living Color" made me look forward to watching the show back in the early-1990s. He was priceless in 1994's "Dumb & Dumber." I laughed so hard, tears came to my eyes and my belly ached. But then he started getting on my nerves. It wasn't anything personal toward an actor who brought in some major bucks. Seeing him ham it up all the time got old and he just wasn't funny anymore. It was kind of like the class clown always trying to be funny.

When he did "The Truman Show" with director Peter Weir, a very respectable director, I raised an eyebrow. No way that was going to work. When the film debuted in 1998, I didn't bother to see it, despite what the critics said (I usually don't pay attention to them). The concept of a guy living in front of a television lens didn't appeal to me. It's taken me ten years to finally get around to watching it, and to my surprise, I really enjoyed it.

Carrey plays a man who was born in front of a worldwide audience via television. His life is a reality show and everyone who surrounds him is an actor, yet he doesn't realize it. This concept was realitively new in 1998, though reality television had been around for a while with MTV's "The Real World" and Fox's "Cops." What's fresh, even ten years after "The Truman Show" was released, is how unscripted Carrey appears. Most reality shows are so planned and produced today that they seem fake. Carrey, on the other hand, lends credibility to his performance by being believable and sincere.

Carrey pulls off a tremendous performance that surprised me with his range. I actually felt for his plight of being a man trying to get out of a bubble. I think there was some controversy when he wasn't nominated for an Oscar. I think the controversy came from Carrey himself believing he finally earned the Academy's vote. But he was seen as Jim Carrey, the comic who tried to be too serious. Looking back, it's almost disheartening to see that Roberto Benigni, himself a rubber faced comic, won for Best Actor!

Peter Weir again directs with a controlled eye and penchant for telling a good story. The film is solid and even pulls out a slight bit of emotion without being sappy. Actress Laura Linney and Ed Harris are excellent.

The Blu-ray is exceptional in its quality across the board. One might not picture a drama looking sharp and bright on Blu-ray, but "The Truman Show" does. Peter Biziou's cinematography is well produced in this digital format. There is hardly any film grain (which is not always a bad thing).

Soundwise, it's excellent. Despite being a drama, the sound is rich and full blooded. Burkhard von Dallwitz's score was nicely recorded and it's rendered here with fullness. Dialogue is clear as are the sound effects. Most home theater demos are done with explosive scenes and lots of noise. "The Truman Show" Blu-ray is an excellent example of how dialogue and well-recorded music can also benefit the format. This is a pleasing sound presentation that should be noticed.

I, the jury, am still out on Jim Carrey and his talent. He did, however, do an outstanding job in "The Truman Show." For fans of Carrey who dismissed the film like I did, the Blu-ray is a perfect way to enjoy it now.           
Bill Kallay

Special thanks to Click Communications

Photos: Paramount Pictures. All rights reserved.
Blu-ray Quick Glimpse



Solid film that plays up on reality shows

Director: Peter Weir

Cast: Jim Carrey, Laura Linney, Ed Harris

Making of, and more


Picture: Excellent
Sound: Excellent

The visual effects can at times look fake

Aspect Ratio (1.85:1)

Dolby TrueHD

December 30, 2008
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