Burbank sails onto Blu-ray
Here’s a great pub question to pose to your film fan friends: Is Jim Carrey better as a serious actor in The Truman Show or Man on The Moon? Both were highly successful come award season, but arguably by Man on the Moon in 1999, a year after The Truman Show, the novelty of Carrey playing it straight had already worn off.
Back in 1998, however, he was still the energetic rubber-faced comedian we’d grown to love in movies like Ace Ventura Pet Detective, Dumb and Dumber and Batman Forever. The news that he would be working with the director of Picnic at Hanging Rock on a satire about reality TV was met with raised eyebrows and a nervous snicker. Carrey? Doing a serious film?
While The Truman Show turned out to have a fiercely original screenplay by Andrew Niccol and praise was heaped on cast and crew alike, it’s telling that Jim Carrey wasn’t even nominated for an Oscar. His performance is good…but not Tom Cruise in Magnolia good. At the time it was also hard to distance ourselves from Carrey the comedian. We kept expecting Truman to walk into a door, fall down some steps or sell a blind kid a dead canary.
Eleven years later, the stigmata has long since been lifted and we can appreciate The Truman Show for what it is: a great performance piece. It’s Carrey’s moment in the spotlight, but let’s not forget it also helped launch the career of three-time Oscar nominee Laura Linney, who went on to appear in just about every worthy drama made in Hollywood in the past decade (And she fought killer apes in Congo. We can’t forget that little classic).
Ed Harris nicely underplays the God-like Cristof, a creator of a reality TV show where the unwitting star is a man named Truman Burbank. Truman has lived in the fabricated town of Seahaven since birth (it’s actually an enormous indoor set) and believes he’s just an average insurance salesman, never knowing that hundreds of cameras and millions of viewers were following his every move as if it were a soap opera.