Truman Show + Related Material Essay

Peter weir’s film “The Truman show” visually communicates his concerns about the power of the media and the impact it has on society and individuals, through the use of many techniques the composer attempts to engage and inform their audience about how through its manipulations the media affects society and individuals. Victor Kelleher uses manipulation of the visual to communicate ideas about his novel “The Ivory Trail” through the book cover.

Peter Weir’s film he Truman show is about how Truman Burbank’s life is being manipulated and is a television reality show. In the opening sequence the main characters in Truman’s life are presented, giving thoughts about what the Truman show means to them. In the introduction, Truman’s wife in the show, his best friend Marlon and Christof the shows director are introduced. Weir uses visual manipulation to show the flow of power within the film. Christof is introduced in a close up shot, with him in centre to show that he has power within the film.

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Christof also speaks in a very direct tone, while Marlon and Truman’s wife are seen speaking in a very soft and welcoming tone, this is done to show that Christof has the power within the film and to reinforce his superior presence. Also in the opening sequence the shows main character is introduced in a way to highlight the extreme lengths the media is willing to go to in order to maintain its ratings. Truman is seen talking to himself in his bathroom, unaware that he is being filmed through his bathroom mirror, and is being viewed live by a global audience.

Through this technique weir is trying to express his concerns about how the media are willing to do anything for ratings, and to highlight the insensitivity it shows towards an individual’s privacy. In the film The Truman show, weir the director is trying to express his concerns about the power of the media, weir shows how the media can manipulate individuals and change our ideas about who we are and the world that we live in. In the film Christof ‘kills’ of the character of Truman’s father on a boating accident, this was done to prevent Truman leaving Seahaven.

This event shaped the rest of Truman’s life as he had many dreams and aspirations of travelling the world, but was unable to do so because of his fear of the sea. This manipulation shows the extreme lengths the media are willing to go to , in order to maintain their ratings, it also demonstrates how the media show no sensitivity towards an individual’s feelings and emotions. Christof did not consider the physiological effect of ‘killing’ Truman’s father would have on Truman, to Christof this was just another plot in his television show. Truman’s father was not really killed, but was killed in character.

This was done to give Truman a traumatic experience to relate with the sea so that he does not leave Seahaven. If Truman leaves Seahaven there would be no show, and therefore no ratings for Christof. This scene shows the extremes the media are willing to go to for ratings and highlights Weir’s concerns about how the media are not remorseful, and do not care about an individual’s feeling and emotions. In the final scene Truman is seen leaving Seahaven by boat, this is done to show that Truman is finally facing his fears which were created by the manipulations of Christof.

When Truman reaches the end of the Seahaven, he is spoken to by Christof in a godly and superior manner. Christof speaks to Truman via the sets ceiling microphone, this depicts a scene where ‘god’ is speaking to his people. Christof states that ‘I am the creator’ this statement reinstates his belief that he owns Truman, Christof views Truman as a commodity rather than a human being. Through this technique it is evident that Christof has no remorse for manipulating Truman’s entire life.

Christof offers Truman a chance to stay on the show, stating that the world that he created for Truman is no worse than the real world. After Truman rejects Christof’s offer to stay on the show by bowing down to the camera and stating ‘you couldn’t get a camera in my head’. This scene shows that the manipulations of Christof are finally over and that Truman is accepting what has happened to his life and is moving on. Through this scene Weir is trying to glorify the human spirit and show that the manipulations of the media can be overcome, and do not have to shape our lives and who we are.

The Ivory trail is a book by Victor Kelleher, the front cover of the book provides an insight on what to expect within the novel. The images on the front cover of ‘ The Ivory Trail’ provide the reader with an insight on what the book may be about and the themes and ideas which may be expressed. On the front cover there is an image of a pyramid and sphinx, a young boy, and an Islamic or Indian temple. The pyramid symbolises ancient Egypt and the sphinx may be of religious significance. The domed temples ear the top of the cover suggest that the book may be of a foreign culture, this is also evident with the image of the young boy, and his face on the cover is juxtaposed with the domed temple, and the pyramid and sphinx. In the image of the boys face, there can be tears seen coming down his face, this may indicate that he is lost, or he is in pain. The boys face is tilted upwards to indicate hope and curiosity. The boys face fades within the sand background; this is suggestive that he is embarking on a journey over desert landscapes. The colours used by the composer also express the author’s ideas of the book.

The main colours used within the cover are red, yellow and black/purple. At the top of the book cover is an image of a sunset or sunrise, while the bottom part of the book cover is mostly composed of black. The author may be trying to communicate a message of good versus evil, as black is usually associated with evil, while bright colours (yellow) are usually associated with good and right doing. The author uses the phrase ‘not all journey’s have an end’, this phrase may be implying that there is an afterlife and is designed to get the reader to think about what the phrase means to them.

The word ‘trail’ is used in the title to suggest that there may be a journey on foot ahead for those involved. The word ‘trail’ along with the teary boy, the sphinx and the domed temple may be suggesting that there is a journey ahead. The title is written in a font where the size of the words builds up, with every word and the emphasis being on ‘trail’. Peter weir’s film The Truman show visually communicates his ideas about how the media has a stronghold on society and individuals. Victor Kelleher uses visuals to communicate his ideas about his book through his front cover.


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