The matrix is a mind bending thrill ride with high style and substance providing a pure popcorn flick to enjoy. Directed by the Wachowskis with cinematography by Bill Pope to bring together a film about distorted reality giving an ultimate expression of the cyberpunk genre.
The Matrix stars Keanu Reeves as Neo; a computer hacker who is dissatisfied with his life. Neo is contacted by a mysterious stranger who reveals that the world he inhabits is a computer generated simulation designed to suppress and control the human race. This allows for some striking visuals which are a stand out point for the movie.
The idea that The Matrix takes place in a computer simulation allows for the directors and cinematographer freedom to distort reality and do what they want in the universe. The opening sequence will have the viewer hooked as Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) evades shadowy men in suits during a thrilling rooftop chase scene filled with high action and bullets flying.
As the movie progresses the mysterious stranger reveals himself as Morpheous (Lawrence Fishbourne) the leader of a group of rebels who wish to recruit Neo to fight the conspiracy holding the human race in virtual reality. Humanity had faced a crisis in the 21st century as their machines became too intelligent. To stop the machines the human race scorched the skies to deprive the machines of their solar power. In retaliation the machines chose to feed on the human’s energy turning them into living batteries under the false reality of the Matrix containing them.
Morpheous and his crew on board the ship the Nebuchadnezzar have escaped the matrix’s grasp and reside in the depths of the earth with ties to Zion a human-only refuge deep beneath the earth’s surface. The crew needs Neo who they believe to be ‘the one’ who can manipulate the matrix from within providing he can harness his own powers, and so begins Neo’s training and self discovery.Cue a large amount of bullets and comic book style action sequences as the group fights its way through both the virtual world of The Matrix and the reality of earth overruled by machines.
The film oozes with artificial intelligence in a smart futuristic thriller that never forgets the delicate balance of technobabble and being interesting to the mainstream. There are scenes of downtime explaining the universe, mythos and the fight humans have against the machines. While there are also plenty of long action sequences showcasing the matrix as a blockbuster title while giving its complete stamp on the cyberpunk genre.
The matrix has good pacing between the action sequences and a superb villian in Hugo Weaving’s Agent Smith providing tension and some comedic effect. A definite stand out performance in a character that really cuts through providing a polar opposite to Neo.
The Wachowski’s have clearly been influenced by the wire work used frequently in Asian cinema. many of the action sequences within the matrix involve wire work providing slick scenes of impossible physics playing into the virtual reality strengths of the premise. Each shot is carefully composed and then digitally enhanced providing a flashy artificial look.