The Truman Show (1998)
Can ingenious satire be intrinsically infantile and naive? Yes is the answer after having watched The Truman Show. Who haven't had a sinking feeling that the entire world was plotted against you, that everybody seem to know something that you don't? In the case of Truman Burbank, that feeling ultimately proves to be the truth. His entire life has been a 24/7 reality television show, all his friends and family members merely actors scripted to do whatever the show's creator, Christof, decides for them. It's a life lived on false premises, but in which everything is taken care of.
Truman's life is a lie, but perhaps that goes for all our lives? That is one of the many moral dilemmas The Truman Show implicitly raises. Another is the concept of voyeurism, and our inclination for it. And although those responsible for Truman's life, meaning virtually everyone, both those who set it up and the public who condone it by watching the show, aren't exactly vilified by the filmmakers, our sympathy is with Truman and his quest for freedom, meaning to break free from the confines of his controlled life. It's hard to watch The Truman Show without pondering our own highly controlled modern lives. As such, the film is just as much social satire as media satire, depending on whether you view media's role in the film as instrumental or metaphorical. Either way, this is a film with enough levels for more than one viewing and for a timeless artistic value. It is also notable for being Jim Carrey's breakout role as a serious dramatic actor, even if he also here proved himself more apt in the more lighthearted segments than the deeper and more pondering ones.
Peter Weir directed with a solid sleight of hand from Andrew Niccol's script. There's also fine supporting work from two of the best new character actors from the late 1990s, Noah Emmerich and Paul Giamatti.