Released: 31st March 1999
Directed by: Andy and Liam Wachowski
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Carrie Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne
Directed by the Larry and Andy Wachowski, The Matrix was one of the biggest films of 1999 and is still considered to be one of the best Action/Sci-fi films. So what is it that makes the film so popular and has it been able to stand the test of time?
The film follows the live of Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves), who alongside his regular office day job, is infamous computer hacker going by the alias Neo. His world is turned around when he is contacted by another hacker known as Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburne) Morpheus shows Neo the ‘Real World’ where humans are cultivated by machines who entrap their minds in a computer generated dream world known as ‘The Matrix’. Neo must come to terms with his destiny and help to destroy powerful computer programs, known as the Agents, within the Matrix and help to save the human race in both worlds. With the help of Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) Neo leads the rebels against the agents, led by Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) as they seeks to hunt down and kill anyone who attempts to break free from the Matrix.
The Matrix focuses on creating unique action sequences. The notion that ‘anything is possible’ gives endless possibilities to the usual fight scenes. However, few movies have managed to live up to their promise of originality quite like The Matrix. In the first few scenes we see Trinity take on a room full of Police officers, dodging bullets and running over desks and walls, the scene is action at its best.
So many times we see films enjoy a decent opening ten minutes, with eh promise of more only to fall flat and make the decent start a distant memory. The Matrix manages to carry its wow-factor throughout. Beautifully composed scenes, which mix music and visuals in such a way that it’s at times, impossible to look away. (Check out the ‘lobby scene’ if you don’t believe me)
Its not just the fighting, it’s the hidden depth that comes as a welcome change to similar films, where the story and acting suffers as a result of too much time spent on making the film look good. Even though the story is far-fetched it’s the inconceivable notion that we are all part of something bigger that nags at you throughout. If the inhabitants of the matrix don’t know of their destiny, what’s to say we don’t? Even religion is referenced, Neo being ‘the one’ and being referred to as ‘my own personal Jesus Christ’ by a man he saves creates the unexpected depth mentioned beforehand. A little philosophical for a film review I know, however you can’t help but ask the question, what If? There are also well worked ideas within the film, the concept that Déjà Vu is actually a glitch in the matrix and references to flying when not knowing whether we are awake or asleep.
The performances are memorable. Keanu Reeves is brilliant as both real-world and Matrix Neo. In much the same way that an actor playing a superhero, must play both the hero and the man behind the mask. Real-world Neo struggles to come to terms with his new life, whilst in the Matrix he is cool, calm and collected. Weaving is fantastic as Agent Smith in his hunt to kill Neo and his allies, mixing great dialogue with some fantastic action sequences. While Fishburne and Moss play second string to the performances of Reeves and Weaving, their performances are accomplished and the film would have suffered without them.
The Matrix is undeniably a classic action/sci-fi. Managing the story and conflicts, equally well alongside each other. The film is original in both style and content and it makes for an experience that is rarely recreated. Who needs to bother the real world when you have movies like The Matrix
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