The Matrix is a 1999 Warner Bros. science fiction film written and directed by the Wachowskis about humanity being trapped by “the machines” in a virtually simulated world. It was a staple of the nineties and has since entered the world of American pop culture.
Computer programmer Thomas A. Anderson, known online as the hacker Neo (Keanu Reeves) makes contact with a mysterious figure called Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), who is being pursued by the “Agents,” and the deadliest of all Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving). Morpheus saves Neo from the agents with the help of Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss). Morpheus offers him a choice, wake-up from the “Matrix” or restore his life inside. Neo chooses to awaken by taking a red pill and when he does, he realizes that humanity is trapped in a simulated reality. Morpheus and the last of humanity who live in the human city of Zion are fighting the Matrix in order to free humankind with Neo being the one who can do it. However, Agent Smith is not far behind.
At the time of its release, The Matrix was at the cutting-edge of special effects and it shows. Compared to other releases at the time, the effects are top-notch and that goes double for the cinematography done by Bill Pope. It adds to the overall action sequences, but also with the drama. It is methodically worked out and the excellence of it shows.
The acting is well-done, especially by Reeves and Moss. Their character’s chemistry was spot on for this feature and their relationship is flushed out in good fashion. I also want to praise Fishburne and Weaving. Fishburne as the idealistic was made for the big screen. Weaving was sinister as the devilish Agent Smith who wants to destroy Zion and bring humanity to its knees.
I will say, though, the philosophical themes are a little misguided. While it has a mix of Christian, Zen, and Kant, it is a lot of misinterpreting of these philosophies, adding in socialistic themes into them. For instance, when Morpheus admits to Neo that when they kill people working with the agents, they are, in fact, killing innocent people still trapped. He dismisses this as a matter of urgency and that they have no choice. However, a simple plot device could have solved this where innocent people do not need to die en masse for the sake of their mission. This is actually quite disturbing.
Bottom line, The Matrix will be a classic in the near future, especially in the cult status. Though its philosophical ideals are askew, it is an ambitious and sharply made film that has excellent performances.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Some sexual content, Violence, Strong foul language
FAVORITE QUOTE: Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you weren’t able to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference from the real world and the dream world?
Check out the movie trailer below:
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This article has been updated from a previous version.