The Truman Show (1998) didn’t capture the zeitgeist; it largely predicted it. Much like how Scarface (1983) birthed glorified Gangsta rap – present hip hop artists unaware that Montana was a satire laughing at the emergence of the culture – it was the Jim Carrey ‘serious role’ vehicle which presaged the Big-Brother-by-choice bantz we now have. The eponymous ‘reality’ TV show, a zillion other ‘hidden camera’ programmes populated by tarted-up bimbos (yes, including The Apprentice), the omniscience of social media, the shameless supervision from the NSA and GCHQ. It’s as if Truman is a summation of 20 years of snooping, willfully and not, but before it happened.
I can’t even count the number of times someone has said to me they feel like they’re living a real-life Truman Show, such has been the ridiculousness of their day. Well, if directed actors and MacGuffins aren’t out there to construct the drama, you can bet you’re being watched, often by choice – think of all the selfies at crime scenes, the Snapchatting of break-ins, check-ins at weddings/funerals.
The Truman Show nailed the lot – the shallowness, the vanity, the essential neediness of modern society to not only feign happiness in its absence but inject meaning everywhere, to create a drama when none is needed.
And that Philip Glass score lifted from Powaqqatsi (1998) is quite the cracker: