A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
Directed By: The Wachowski Brothers
Produced By: Joel Silver
Written By: The Wachowski Brothers
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburn, Hugo Weaving, Carrie-Anne Moss
Running Time: 136 Minutes
Andrew Brown once commented on the Internet, stating it is “so big, so powerful and pointless that for some people it is a complete substitute for life”. In the similar vein, Albert Einstein also said “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity”.
No, this is not a review full of marginally relevant quotations that make the author appear more intelligent and cultured than the reader, it simply commences proceedings on a piece about a film considered to be the greatest example of science-fiction cinema ever made.
When we think of conventions within the science-fiction genre, we tend to envisage technology, violence, philosophy, the future, alternate dimensions, human psyche and the notion of The One.
The archetypal, quintessential example of a science-fiction milestone is, of course, The Matrix, a film so celebrated, so profound, so admired; it has stood the test of time and will continue to do so for decades to come.
What else can be said about The Matrix that hasn’t already been said?
The Wachowski’s vision of a future where we as a species are living in a perceived reality is the very foundation of an age-old question we often ask ourselves; “how do we know this is all real?” Delving deep into fundamental realm of the sci-fi genre that look at consciousness, dreams, reality, technology, cerebral perception and the meaning of life, The Matrix asks the questions that many are not brave enough to ask and produces a fleshed-out, unique, logical explanation that suites the world in which it is set.
Keanu Reeves plays Thomas Anderson, an office worker with a supreme talent in computer hacking. Operating under the alias ‘Neo’, Mr. Anderson is approached by a another hacker by the name of Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and introduced to the mind-bending world known as ‘The Matrix’.
Under the guidance of the masterful Morpheus (Laurence Fishburn), Neo, along with fellow members of a rebellion squad set out to oppose the creators and controllers of this world, risking everything in the process.
The Matrix is a film that pioneered an enormous amount in the cinematic experience. Not only is the concept bold and immensely ambitious, the special effects remain unbelievable even by today’s standards.
Furthermore, The Matrix possesses an avant-garde mindset in its wonderful blend of action, drama, suspense, surrealism and fantasy. These approaches are blended and presented in a picture that forever changed the way we experience filmmaking. Collecting portions of almost every genre imaginable and exhibiting a completely new style of science fiction is what makes The Matrix so special.
It’s superbly entertaining, confronting, emotional, crushing and enthralling for the entire runtime; never do you lose interest.
The green colour grade of the film is infectious, as it becomes a character in itself. The world in which these simulacra inhabit is eerie, cruel and affecting; a lack of the iconic green pallet would prove to be a detriment to the film.
Iconography is everywhere within The Matrix, we constantly remember key imagery, locate inspiration in other works, and celebrate the film in general, marvelling at its unparalleled legacy some sixteen years after its release.
The notion of ‘The One’ is nothing new, but the way it’s approached in The Matrix is intelligent and simplistic. In a film full of excess and gratuitousness, the less is more approach when introducing Thomas Anderson creates a significant divide between the two worlds, a true service to the narrative.
Without The Matrix, we certainly would not have films such as Inception. Christopher Nolan’s cerebral, surrealist action thriller is an achievement in itself, but without the original vision from the Wachowskis, we wouldn’t have been treated to the mind-bending, dimension-altering action experience of 2010.
A film that many regard as the greatest film of the modern cinematic age, The Matrix was pivotal in bringing new and exciting formats, ideas and possibilities to the big screen. Intelligent, brave and superior beyond most of its kind, The Matrix is still one of the most immersive, affecting and iconic motion pictures ever created and is one that must be experienced to be believed.
If you are to see a film in cinemas and comment on extraordinary techniques, narrative ideas or effects, chances are it The Matrix did it first.