Andrew Niccol Has Something to Say about Reality



Reality photo credit: h.koppdelaney via photopin cc

First, who is Andrew Niccol?

Andrew Niccol is the writer and sometime director behind the three movies about reality I discuss below.  Then you’ll understand why I chose the title above.

The Truman Show

Truman Burbank.

His first name gives the hint.  He is the true man in contrast to the fake around him.

His last name is of a Southern California suburb, the place where Johnny Carson had his show, a town on the edge of make-believe.


The Truman Show photo credit: ryan.tanner via photopin cc

Truman is real in a fantasy world… and he doesn’t even know it.

Truman wants what deep down we all want:  Truth.

Who is he?  What is he to do?

What and who he got was Christof, a man with a rip-off messianic name, a poor substitute for a creator.

Christof’s answer to Truman’s legitimate questions is, “You’re the star of a television show.”

Wow.  That’s meaning?

He doesn’t want celebrity; he wants reality.

So, Truman leaves.  He leaves to find his own meaning in the broader universe.

Wouldn’t you?

I want a real God, not a fake one and certainly not one using me for some ulterior motive.  I want real answers in a real world.


Simone is the only name she needed.

She is an instant star of first magnitude, where one name sufficed, like Cher, like Elvis, like Lassie.

Simone is a fantasy in a real world… and know one else wants to know it.

As Truman is a true man, Simone is a simulation.


Binary Code photo credit: Blyzz via photopin cc

Simone is digital code in a world bent on believing in nothing solid.

It’s like in the Doris Day/Rock Hudson comedy Lover Come Back about the New York advertising business where the scientist remarks they had succeeded in selling the world nothing.

The problem in Simone is that Simone’s creator, Viktor Taransky, can’t get past her.  She comes to define him.  Fake is forced upon him, and it’s the world of celebrity that does the forcing.

Viktor lets the genie out of the bottle in order to answer his own questions of significance and reality.  But the phenomenon of Simone and her celebrity sweeps all aside and leaves Viktor behind.

As Victor says, “She’s indestructible.”

The frightening thing is what Simone does for entertainment, she soon seeks to do for politics.

Wow?  That’s too real for comfort.

I want real experiences with real people, not vicarious living through celebrities who are manufactured for entertainment.  I want real living in real time.



Gattaca photo credit: ne!l chen via photopin cc

At Gattaca, reality is genetically chosen.

The reality for Vincent Freeman is that he wants a chance to fulfill his dreams.

As Truman is a true man, Vincent desires to be a free man.

So Vincent makes his own reality though hard work, fortitude, and a bit of cheating a system rigged for his failure.

Vincent is making his fantasy and dreams his reality.

His genetically perfect brother always beat Vincent in swimming contests when they were young.  His brother finds him later when Vincent had dedicated himself to his goals.  During the swimming rematch, the younger, superior brother questions how Vincent defeats him in their swimming contest.

Vincent lets him in on his secret:  He holds nothing back for the return swim.

Wow!  That’s dedication.

I want real opportunities made possible by my own real work.  I want real freedom to make real choices.

Reality and truth, reality versus celebrity, reality aided by commitment.

Yes, Andrew Niccol is saying something.

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  1. lucy October 23, 2013 #

    So true. I wonder what Niccol’s beliefs are? He seems to at least be searching for something real in this world.

    • Drew Ellenwood October 23, 2013 #

      Absolutely. We all have that drive. Now, where to find it? Most places are dry holes.

  2. Matt October 28, 2013 #

    These movies are some of the best. Why is this Niccol character not more famous? Maybe he actually IS just a character?!?! (mind blown)

    • Drew Ellenwood October 29, 2013 #

      Well, I’ve actually seen his picture on IMDB. But you know, that could be anything. What is real?


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