Truman’s tone is set from its opening scene. Telling the tale of a long-term friendship between two men, Julián (Ricardo Darín) and Tomás (Javier Cámara), tested by the former’s terminal illness, it begins by chronicling the banal vagaries of Tomás’ lengthy transit from his home in Canada to Madrid, Spain. The weariness of Tomás’s journey is entirely in tune with the film that follows, seemingly more interested in the worn-out specifics of late-middle-age masculinity than the specifics of life, death and legacy raised by Julián’s plight.
The best thing about Truman is undoubtedly the performances of these two men, who offer emotional modulation and depth only hinted at by director Cesc Gay’s screenplay. The two lead actors keep the film compelling, but deserve more than a film whose title – the name of Julián’s dog – serves as an achingly-obvious symbol for his owner’s anxieties over how he’ll be remembered – and by whom.
Truman’s pleasures are obscured, rather than accentuated, by its insistence on idle ambling. Personally, I’d prefer to have soon a story with a more pointed contribution to questions of mortality and aging – à la Mia Madre or Silent Heart – than one that spends most of its time in transit.