4 Stars
Year Released: 1998
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 103 minutes
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Isn’t it amazing what you can do if you take the time to FINISH your script? If you don’t know the plot by now, here it is: 30 year old, unhappy, unfulfilled insurance salesman, Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) slowly realizes his entire life is a television show, everyone he knows, an actor. Sadly for him, instead of “Playboy’s Night Calls”, it’s “The Prisoner”.
Everyone who’s calling the film a rip-off of Paul Bartel’s “Secret Cinema” can blow it out your ass. Director Peter Weir has made a better, heart-felt movie without smugness or beating you senseless. Could you imagine Oliver Stone or Alan Parker (HACK!) doing something like this? We’d have some self-important incomprehensible mess about media manipulation, instead of a great FILM where you may care about the man with the emoting asshole. How many times have we seen the same themes of identity and manipulation mangled by directors too high on their own cleverness? This is what “Dark City” could have been, if Alex Proyas wasn’t masturbating his way through his little funhouse.
Weir, the screenwriters, and the actors created unseen back-stories for all of the supporting characters who are, actors playing characters. As such, all of the performances are outstanding, especially Ed Harris as Christof, the warden and head writer of Truman’s prison. Laura Linney gives a brave portrayal of Truman’s wife as a sort of “Betty White on crack.”
Will everyone love this film? No, the studio got the $60 million art film they were afraid of getting. Will everyone enjoy this film? Since Weir and Carrey have given us something to connect with, yes.

Posted on June 15, 1998 in Reviews by

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