Thursday, 25 June 2009

“The Truman Show” on BLU RAY. A Review of the 1998 Peter Weir movie now reissued on a 2009 BLU RAY.

"…Easy On The Fog…Button Cam Three…Fade Up Music…”

Watching Peter Weir’s 1998 film in 2009 is a weird and wonderful trip – if not a slightly disconcerting one at times.

First – it’s as masterful and brilliant as you remember it – a very clever unfolding story about a man whose life is permanent Candid Camera for the entire planet - living in an artificially created world with literally everyone around him being an actor. Then there’s the stunning and believable performances of a perfectly picked cast (Carey, Linney and Harris all shine). And second - with the appalling Big Brother polluting our airwaves night after night – “The Truman Show” is not just relevant eleven years later – it seems to have actually predicted our television future…

But back to the BLU RAY - the first thing you notice is the picture, which is a mixture of beautiful clarity one moment running alongside very steady DVD quality the next. Clarity highlights would include - - Noah Emmerich’s sea of freckles as he’s interviewed in the opening credits - he plays Marlon who is supposedly Truman’s best friend – always turning up with a “Brewsky” whenever there’s a problem (they actually cake and paste Noah’s face with make up to cover up his freckles in later shots). There are the pearls on Sylvia’s wrist in the library when Truman and her finally talk, the “How Does It All End?” button on her cardigan – stunning clarity. There’s Truman digging the garden in his horrible orange pants as his wife stops on her bicycle for a little product-placement (played superbly by Laura Linney)…
“Look Truman! Chef's Pal! It’s a Grater, Peeler and Dicer all in one!”

You also notice the actors who went on to be huge stars, Paul Giamatti as Christof’s technical sidekick, Peter Krause from Six Feet Under and Dirty Sexy Money as one of the suits in Truman’s office and of course the ethereal beauty of Natasha McElhone who has eyes clinically proven to be deeper than the Pacific Ocean.

Harry Shearer is in there too doing a fantastic turn as the appeasing interviewer Mike Michaelson. There’s the crass reintroduction of Truman’s dead father, which is being choreographed live by manipulative experts in the overhanging control room (quote above). But the trump card is the last minute cast appointment of Ed Harris as the show’s all-powerful creator – the aptly named Christof. Harris is simply magnificent (nominated for an Oscar) all serene and quietly spoken one moment – but dictatorial the next when his little money-making baby and power trip start to get challenged by an unexpectedly spunky Truman – a man Christof’s personally trained to be scared of certain things so he won’t ever leave Seahaven…

The two extras are the same as the Special Edition DVD – so a little disappointing there. But that’s minor compared to how good the whole film looks on BLU RAY and especially how amazingly well it still stands up – a modern day masterpiece. And the scenes where Truman stops the bus in defiance and where he battles the storm on his boat trying to break free - brought tears to my eyes – fabulous stuff.

“You can’t get any away further away before you start coming back…” Truman says to Marlon about Fiji where his longed-for love Sylvia is.

It’s slightly disconcerting to find a movie character spouting such wisdom, because in 2009, our entire world feels like one big screwed up reality show that can only end badly... What a film!

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Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

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