The Truman Show is a film which has been developed through a range of images. Peter Weir has creatively directed a film portraying the media and its impact on society. Within this film we see the effectiveness of techniques, which include camera angles, framing, shot types, camera movement, style of music, costuming and sequencing. By using a range of different techniques Weir is able to create emotive images and portray three different worlds to the audience.
Image is everything in today's society appearance of things have become more important that what they really are and these images are being constantly fed to us through the media. Image has both a positive and negative influence on the individual but most people have been drawn into the stereotypical world. Truman Burbank is the star of a television show who lives a perfect life - stable job, wife and friends to support him but he is unbeknown to the world which revolves around him 24 hours a day. Truman is portrayed as a uncomplicated, affable and contented insurance salesman.
His conservative costuming reflects this as he is clean shaven and dressed in light neat fitting clothing. Distortion of truth and constructed images are key themes portrayed in the movie this is characterised by the drowning of Truman's father which was staged purely to implant a fear in Truman's mind of going on or over the water. This is the way that Christof could control Truman from finding the truth and leaving the island by boat or bridge and discovering that beyond the water are the walls of the dome that encloses his world. The image of the broken bridge is used to indicate Truman's lack of freedom and pathway which leads nowhere.
Another image that Peter Weir used in this film is the representation of Christof as the director or 'creator' of The Truman Show. Christof portrays himself as the man behind the show and once we are able to see through his tough exterior we can see that he is not a completely unsympathetic character but quite and conservative. Christof is a very powerful man and is portrayed as a god-like figure. This is shown through the image of individual versus society - as Truman the individual is constantly trying to break free from the control and strong hold of Christof who represents the society. Meryl, Truman's wife is clearly shown as an actor and portraying an image of stereotypical women from the 1950's with her fitted bodices and flared knee length skirts. She plays and overly-devoted mother like figure to Truman.
Meryl is also used for product placement and in the middle of a conversation with Truman she will begin to describe the wonders of a product. In the beginning Truman just thinks she is being enthusiastic. But soon begins to realise that she isn't talking to him and in fact is selling the product to viewers. Meryl continually tries to manipulate Truman emphasis ing her superiority over him. Throughout the film we can clearly see Meryl and Truman show no emotion towards each other this helps emphasise Truman's love for Silvia and the construction of her image. Peter Weir has introduced the use of flashbacks to retell the story to us the audience and also the audience of The Truman Show depicting the attraction shared between Silvia and Truman.
Silvia becomes Truman's only chance of escape and to learn the truth. "Everybody knows everything you do, they " re pretending. It's a set. It's a show." Peter Weir frequently stages action and composes shots so that Truman's world is portrayed as 'perfect' throughout the film Weir uses panning shots of the whole of Seahaven showing us Truman's surroundings we see perfectly mowed lawns, white picket fences, pastel-coloured houses and the bright blue sky. The image created is too perfect showing that his whole world is artificial. Weir purposely focuses on blurring reality to confuse the responder.
But us as the audience also confuse what is real and what is illusion. In scene two a large object comes crashing down onto the street. As this is occurring we see a high angle shot of Seahaven. Truman then picks up the object and looks to the sky a low camera angle is then used to make Truman look small and insignificant. But just like every other incident Christof has an explanation and manipulates Truman into believing that everything that goes on around him is perfectly normal. This is demonstrated when Truman is driving along we hear the radio announcers saying that a plane has been dropping parts onto Seahaven and that it is nothing to worry about.
The Truman Show is about the media having too much power on society. Peter Weir has shown how the media can abuse this power. He has used to idea of a 'film within a film' to display aspects of media within today's society. Christof states " we " ve become bored with watching actors give us phone emotions.
While the world Truman inhabits is in some respect counterfeit, there's nothing fake about Truman himself... Nothing you see on this show is fake " With Truman's construction of the picture of Silvia and his gradual awareness that everything is not quite right we see his willingness to discover the truth. Christof creates images using different techniques to manipulate the audience of The Truman Show as does Peter Weir in Manipulating us.