The Matrix


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The Matrix
"Visually it is astonishing, not only because of its effects and techno trickery, but cinematically the Wachowskis are so audacious." | Photo: Warner Bros

The future is a foreign country. Do not expect to understand its language. You won't. The Wachowski brothers have not created a movie along stereotypical lines. The complex, visionary interpretation of a post-rational age remains just that - complex and visionary.

In this place, which has become Virtual, anything is possible. It works both ways. If you recognise a streetscape, chances are it is a hologram.

Copy picture

Neo (Keanu Reeves) is Thomas Anderson, programme designer in a multinational software company. The year: 1999. The location: somewhere in the US.

Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) is the captain of a rebel ship (space variety). His enemy is The Agency, whose field workers dress as men in black and are indestructable. His mission is to find The One, who will lead them out of servitude. He believes he has found him in Neo. He believes, also, that the year is 2199 and the location cyber energy where all things exist and no things are absolute. This is a world of transference. This is "the difference between knowing the path and walking it."

The Matrix is Blade Runner for the computer literate. Visually it is astonishing, not only because of its effects and techno trickery, but cinematically the Wachowskis are so audacious. Their use of slow motion is balletic. Gun battles become the new theatre. Confusion is a state of mind and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) a fierce beauty, who fights with a grace stolen from falcons. She is Morpheus' messenger and Neo's minder.

In recent years, Keanu Reeves has been a laughing stock, the only one of River Phoenix's generation who cannot act. The Wachowskis transform him into a lithe, lean master of his craft. It seems incredible that this fallen angel, languishing in a dumpster somewhere, has resurrected into something resembling splendour.

There is only one way to view this film. Be seduced, be kidnapped. Do not demand an explanation.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Visually dazzling sci-fi thriller. Re-released in 4K restoration.
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Read more The Matrix reviews:

Stephen Carty *****
Jennie Kermode *

Director: Lilly Wachowski, Lana Wachowski

Writer: Lilly Wachowski, Lana Wachowski

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Gloria Foster, Joe Pantoliano, Marcus Chong, Julian Arahanga, Matt Doran, Belinda McClory, Anthony Ray Parker

Year: 1999

Runtime: 93 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: USA

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