A film about accepting and preparing for imminent death and the endurance of friendship, Truman, directed and co-written by Cesc Gay, bypasses the weighty, sentimental overtones and instead depicts a man’s numbered days in a way anyone would wish to go: with a bit of humour and finesse.
Tomás (Javier Cámara) journeys from his established life in Canada to spend four days in Madrid with his ailing, lifelong friend, Julián (Ricardo Darín), and to presumably convince the terminally ill man to continue with his chemotherapy treatment. However, Julián is resolute in his decision and Tomás ends up accompanying him on various errands to tie up remaining loose ends.
Rather than a momentous narrative to drive the film, Truman is built upon character studies delivered by two of Spanish cinema’s premiere actors. Darín’s portrayal of Julián in his attempts to exert control over his situation exposes Man’s inevitably futile quest to conquer his own mortality. With an undeniable onscreen chemistry between the two, Cámara complements the pair with a delicate, unassuming performance. Gay pairs unobtrusive dialogue with a soft focus on the unspoken interaction between people, such as sustained looks in silence, revealing the basis of human interpersonal connections that is impossible to reduce to words.
Sprinkled with notable instances of dark humour, Truman is elegiac without being maudlin. Despite the overarching plot of Julián’s approaching end, the film never loses sight of its main premise of a friendship that has withstood the trials of time and distance. Master of the understated, Gay offers an honest depiction of the human tendency to try and conclude everything in a neat little package, as well as the impossibility of doing so.
Truman does not have a UK release date yet.
Watch the trailer for Truman here: