Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving
Directed by: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
Written By: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 2 hr 16 min
With a story concept that’s computer controlled totalitarian society meets Kung Fu, The Matrix scores on so many levels! In parts dark and tense, but also balanced with some good old-fashioned science fiction fun. The entire human race brain washed into living out their lives in a computer program in order to provide power to the machines that put them there? It’s absurd really. But the Wachowski family power through their mad creation and extract every ounce of entertainment value available.
Anchoring this slick adventure, and playing the part of audience surrogate is Neo (Keanu Reeves). Giving us arguably one of the best physical performances I’ve ever seen. Not only as a believable martial artist, but also in how he interacts with the many items of technology that get thrust into his body. When they unplug Neo from the Matrix, Keanu really makes you believe a six-inch spike was just removed from his skull. When he pulls a long probe out of his arm, you feel his discomfort.
He’s ably supported too by a very smoothly intense (how’s that possible?) Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus, and a very nimble Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity. I could watch her opening battle at the start of this movie on repeat! The camera circling her as she’s launches into the air, resplendent in her black leather doing some kind of enhanced flying crane kick that would have Mr Miyagi saying … daaammmmmnnn!
If you like science fiction, and Kung-Fu movies. Then I’m pretty confident you’re going to love this! If you’re a fan of neither, then this will be a tough one for you to watch. There are some deeper points made in this about society, control and the value of free will, but the Wachowskis never get to bogged down in that aspect of the film. They instead focus on action, character and the dystopian future world they’ve created. The Matrix is also notable for popularizing the ‘bullet time’ special effect.
This is a visually rich film, and it sounds amazing. A crowded theater visit would be ideal. At home a HD viewing is required to get the best out of this film.
Best elements for me:
Well I already mentioned Carrie-Anne Moss, and her opening battle. There’s also the now classic line from the film – ‘I know Kung Fu’ – Said by Neo after his brain has just been programmed with every known martial arts discipline available! The following practice battle with Morpheus is a lot of fun to watch too.