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The Shadow of Truth

Essay by   •  June 12, 2019  •  Book/Movie Report  •  2,166 Words (9 Pages)  •  459 Views

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The Shadow of Truth

In the everyday life of an individual, one is confronted with decision in one’s belief. Should one accept all they have ever known or should they strive to find a higher level of understanding? For the sake of satisfaction, many choose to live a life of norms, a life restrained by a personal cage, chained down by obliviousness. In living such a life however, one will never truly live a meaningful life. They will never see satisfaction in their daring but live in the shadow of their cowardice. In Peter Weir’s film The Truman Show, Truman Burbanks is depicted as an ordinary man in his thirties living a life of routine in his artificial world that eventually strives to discover an ultimate truth. The film demonstrates how an individual can live aimlessly but when exposed to the idea of a greater truth develop a purpose and find meaning in life.

In the early depiction of Truman’s early life, it is evident that he lives a mundane life with his wife Meryl in the town of Seahaven that he doesn’t see satisfaction in, but it is a reality he has accepted. When introduced to Truman in the opening scenes, he is shown to be outgoing and friendly in his conversations with his neighbours. As he begins his day, one of the studio lights falls from the sky and lands on the street. This occurrence is no doubt suspicious but while Truman is intrigued, he does not pursue any possible suspicions, as this reality is all that he has ever known. As he drives to work, the radio immediately explains the mechanical glitch of the “artificial world” to be a falling part of an airplane and Truman remains oblivious. However, in the camera angles and directional decisions, Peter Weir uses this scene to foreshadow Truman’s change in his life. In inspecting the light falling from the sky, Truman is framed by two poles, symbolic of his imprisonment in his world. Also, when Truman takes a look up at the sky, he is captured by an angle of destiny. This particular shot has significance in the film as it marks the moment as the beginning of the collapse of Truman’s world around him. After years of acceptance, Truman’s world is about to come crashing down on him to be replaced by a greater truth. In watching Truman throughout his morning, it is evident that Truman lives a life of routine as a businessman at an insurance firm. However, Truman evidently does not enjoy his job, mentioning he is not “anxious to get there” and not concentrating on his job while at work. These facts all contribute to Truman’s lack of purpose in his world of lies. A mundane routine, a boring job and repetitive days are all Truman has in this life.

As the film continues, Truman discovers the flaws in his world and begins to question the reality around him, discovering a hidden truth he had been oblivious to. Through the following scenes of the film, Truman encounters various “glitches in the system” that after so long raise suspicion in the reality he has believed all his life. In remembering the boating accident that lost him his father on the beach, the audience learns of his trauma of water embodied by his guilt. When “they” decide to douse Truman in rain for effect however, a glitch occurs and the downpour only encircles himself, even following his movements. The following day on the street, Truman meets a homeless man that he recognizes to be his long dead father. The moment he realizes this, various pedestrians carry him away and the “street” blocks his desperate advances. These events mark the beginning of Truman’s paranoia in the world around him. The “truth” he has known is becoming more questionable by the day, and Truman becomes increasingly suspicious. After long years of mundane life of following the norms, Truman finds oddities that bring interest in his life. A mystery to unravel with his innate curiosity that had been suppressed for so long.

In response to the odd events, Truman falls back on his past to shape his motivations, giving purpose to his life. After a day of strange “glitches” Truman looks through an old box full of his old souvenirs. After going through old photos of his father, he picks up a red sweater and holds it in memory of a girl he had a crush on in high school. At this moment, Christof the Director decides to initiate a flashback for the TV show, retelling the events of Truman’s forbidden love with “Lauren”. In watching these scenes, the situation becomes clear; Truman, contrast to the producer’s wishes, falls in love with Lauren, an extra, rather than Meryl, who is supposed to marry him. On a late night in the library, Truman is dragged out onto a beach with Lauren where they exchange romantic moments emphasized by over-the-shoulder camera angles. When they are interrupted by “Lauren’s father”, “Lauren” attempts to tell Truman the truth about his world, revealing herself as Silvia and telling him to find her. Her “father”, attempts to pass the blame of the situation to an illness in her “daughter” and tells him they’re moving to Fiji. While Christof may have used the off script incident to create interest in his show, this event has particular significance in Truman’s pursuit of the greater truth. After so many years, Truman hasn’t forgotten Silvia and his strange behavior in picking up fashion magazines to recreate her face and investigating Fiji earlier suddenly becomes clear. In the light of current events, Truman remembers her words and it becomes evident he is starting to put the pieces together. The greater truth brings initiative in his life that rekindles his desire to find Silvia. He finally finds purpose in a desire to leave Seahaven, to abandon his world of lies.

Through his past and his present, Truman is shaken to a degree of paranoia, but as the glitches continue, Truman’s status quo finally crumbles. When Truman drives to work one day, a serious glitch spurs his actions and breaks his routine. The radio, seemingly broken suddenly begins broadcasting the intercom between the actors and the staff behind the scenes. As he drives down the street, he listens as they describe his actions and Truman realizes this is



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