What He said:
Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) is leading a double life.
By day, he’s a regular guy. He’s got a job in an office, is
generally bored – if not unhappy – with that job, and longs
for something more out of life. By night, he’s Neo, a
well-known hacker who sells programs to other hackers and is
searching for answers about the mysterious Matrix and a man
named Morpheus, who seems to know something about it. The
authorities say Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) is a
cyber-terrorist, but Neo is strangely drawn to him. He has to
know more about the guy and this Matrix he keeps hearing
about. It’s all the talk amongst hackers.
It turns out he gets his chance sooner than he thinks. One
night while at a club he meets a enigmatic woman named
Trinity. She says that she can show him what the Matrix is,
and answer all of his questions. The very next day he’s
contacted by none other than Morpheus, while at work of all
places. The authorities have been monitoring Neo and
immediately take him into custody and begin questioning him
about his relationship with Morpheus. Since he didn’t do
anything, they are forced to let him go, but are following
him closely. He is again contacted by Trinity (Carrie Ann
Moss). She alerts him that he is being followed and that they
must act quickly if they are to help him. She takes him to
Morpheus and this is his life is forever changed.
Morpheus informs him that he is stuck in a dream world.
Literally. Everything he knows about life is a lie, because
he’s living in a virtual reality environment created by
artificial intelligence. The real world is a shit hole that
looks like something out of a post-apocalyptic movie. Neo is
hesitant to believe him, but eventually acknowledges the
I remember when this movie was new, that was a huge
revelation. The idea that the real world wasn’t real blew
audiences away. We knew exactly how Neo felt, because we were
just as shocked. It’s pretty much common knowledge
now, but back then nobody knew, so when saw it and were told
everything we knew was a lie, it really resonated with people.
Our reaction was kind of like this. Not many movies manage to shock
audiences anymore. I’m not sure if it’s because of the way
they are presented or because we’ve all seen so many movies
we’re numb to a lot of it. Either way, this was one of the
few in the last 15 years that still managed to surprise
The other part of this equation is the machines
themselves. As Morpheus informs Neo, the Matrix is a virtual
reality environment created and maintained by machines. Most
of humanity is enslaved inside the Matrix and not even aware
of it. The rest live in the last human city. It’s called
Zion. Its members hack into the Matrix in an attempt to free
more humans and destroy the Matrix. The humans on the outside
are hunted by killing machines called sentinels. The humans on
the inside are kept inline by software programs called
Agents. An Agent’s job is to maintain order inside the Matrix
and eliminate the threat from the outside. They are a freed
human’s number one enemy inside the Matrix. They will stop at
nothing to eliminate you. They want to kill you or capture and
torture you long enough to get useful information about
Zion’s whereabouts. The Agents are led by a program named
Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving).
Smith works with two other Agents and appears to be their
leader. They function as a group, but even then he appears to
be the one calling the shots. Most of the time they seem to
function as a singular mind, but there’s something about
Smith. He shows more individuality than any other program the
humans have ever seen. Unlike other Agents, Smith isn’t just
programmed with stopping the human resistance, he’s obsessed
with it. He’s doing more than simply obeying orders, he is
driven to complete his mission for unknown reasons. He knows
that he is programmed with a mission, but it is more than
that, even he can feel it. Weaving’s performance of this
unique character has made him one of the more memorable
villains in recent movie history.
Oh, and I should mention that Morpheus believes Neo to be
some kind of savior. There is a woman inside the Matrix known
only as The Oracle. She (Gloria Foster) has the power of
foresight, which she uses to guide and advise the resistance.
She predicted the emergence of “the One” and Morpheus
believes this is Neo. Neo is uncertain, but Morepheus’ faith
I really liked Foster’s performance as the Oracle. She had
a very comforting demeanor. She’s got the power to see into
the future, but is just this chill old lady who likes making cookies
and eating candy. She is wise, but not intimidating at all.
She has a very calming way about her and Foster did a
wonderful job showing that. Imagine if your grandmother had
the wisdom of a Buddhist monk or some other respected
figurehead. That’s the Oracle in a nutshell.
The Matrix captured audiences around the world for
a few reasons. It was a combination of so many different
things that you wouldn’t think work together, but do and do
so well. They’re part science fiction – with a heavy emphasis
on the cyber punk culture – part kung-fu flick, with some
religion and philosophy thrown in along the way. The kung-fu
and philosophical/religious stuff seem like they’re a natural
fit (and really they are). You find yourself really want to
delve into and discuss the mythos of the movie too. But the
introduction of the science fiction stuff seems like it is
totally in the opposite direction; but it is but it works
despite being at the opposite ends of the spectrum. The
Wachowski siblings (can’t call them brothers anymore) did a
really good job of creating this world that blended so many
different things, without making it feel random or excessive.
The combination of all these different elements feels very
The performances of several characters could be called
wooden, but that’s just kind of how some people are in
The Matrix universe. Morpheus is a little mysterious
and aloof. He has unshakable faith. He’s not exactly an
everyday guy, but more like a philosopher or holy man. He’s
not the kind of guy you hang out with for fun, because he’s
always on. The wise old Obi-Wan Kenobi is who he is. His
followers – while a little more emotional – are very much
like him. It’s all about the cause, so I can get why they’re
not the most fun people in the world. That and they have
killer robots trying to eliminate their species. They’re not
exactly a lot to be happy about in their world. Reeves has
been accused of being wooden, and he can be, but in this
situation it doesn’t matter, and actually makes sense. He’s a
guy who is bored by life. He feels like a slave/zombie and
finds out he actually is, ha! Trinity is a lot like Morpheus,
so again, her flat demeanor made sense to me. There’s
background characters who add more emotion, so it events out.
As I stated earlier, I simply love Gloria Foster’s
performance as the Oracle. She’s one hip old lady, but one
with the ability to see into the future! Hugo Weaving’s
performance is also quite good. The character Smith is a
software program with specific duties. He has to do what he’s
programmed to due. But that being said, he has some kind of
conflicting nature going on inside his artificial brain. He’s
not only doing his job because he’s programmed to, but
because he’s obsessed with completing the mission. His sanity
depends on it.
The effects might seem a little dated/overdone at times,
but it does not take away from the enjoyment of the movie.
There were a few times I rolled my eyes, but I still really
enjoy this movie.
Rating: Thumbs up.
This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on
March 25, 2013.