Matrix

"OK"

Matrix Review


About half way through "The Matrix," the ostensibly intellectualand certainly expensive virtual reality sci-fi thriller starring KeanuReeves as a genius hacker, the movie turns suddenly simple, as if a WarnerBros. exec showed up on the set and said "I don't get it. You're gonnahave to dumb this down for me."

The writing-directing team of brothers Larry and Andy Wachowskicomplied, and once the movie peels away the mystery of the world in whichit takes place -- which happens about 40 minutes into the story -- it becomeslittle more than wildly over-produced string of action sequences, pausingonly for the obligatory smarmy remarks made between barrages of fancy weaponsfire.

It's a shame, too, because that first 40 minutes is a terrificjigsaw.

Reeves plays Neo, an extremely wired computer programmerwho, as the film opens, is starting to piece together tidbits of informationhe's glommed from here and there that point to something being spectacularlyamiss with reality. All he knows for sure is at the center of it all issomething called the Matrix.

He becomes the target of a band of nefarious, monotonedMen In Black types but is rescued by Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), theleader of an underground revolution against the artificial intelligencethat has taken over the world and sustains the human race only as a sourceof energy, keeping us in suspended animation where we dream the world wesee around us.

Pulled out of what he thought was reality, Neo emergesfrom his womb-like pod and is told the Matrix is the virtual reality computerprogram that sustains this mammoth illusion.

Brimming early on with high-concept cerebral abstractionsand heavy-duty emblemism (Neo is a none-too-subtle messiah figure), "TheMatrix" has such a surreal, European flavor it seems at first amazingthat an American studio would throw $60 million at this thing.

But for all its psychological and symbolic posturing, "TheMatrix" is ultimately way, way more style than substance. Before long,almost every frame is saturated with admittedly amazing CGI sequences --from the already trite (thanks to The Gap commercials) freeze-and-pivotcamera gimmick to spectacular slow-motion uber-shootouts between the MiBguys and a now super-human Reeves, who has joined the resistance and learnedthat since the world is merely a video game the laws of physics don't applyto him.

Reeves is well-cast as a super-hacker who says "Whoa!"Fishburne, a great actor who gets stuck playing his trademark cucumber-cool-in-shadesthing, is exactly right for the part of the leader of the small human rebellionwho thinks Neo has been sent to deliver them to freedom.

Carrie-Anne Moss is the ambiguously lesbian, vinyl-clad,kick-boxing betty who, when the film degrades the furthest, actually kissesKeanu back to life after he's been shot. And Joe Pantoliano, the best catch-phrasedelivery guy in the business, is another freedom fighter who gets to say"Buckle your seat belt, Dorothy, because Kansas is going bye-bye"when he first unplugs Neo from the Matrix.

An amalgam of "Hackers"and last year's ingenious "Pi,"with ample doses of "TheX-Files," "The Terminator" andlater-day "Star Trek" tossed in, "The Matrix" wasn'ta bad idea, and it looks spectacular. But it's no "DarkCity," the singularly distinctive picturethat was the genesis of this current trend of what-is-reality? themed sci-fithrillers.

(There are two more similarly plotted pictures on the horizon-- "The13th Floor" and DavidCronenberg's "eXistenZ.")

The Wachowski brothers -- who were themselves responsiblefor a recent stroke of pure genius in the form of 1996's stylish mob double-crossflick "Bound" -- ultimately doom the intellectual part of "The Matrix" by layingall their cards on the table early in the second act. Once we know whatthe Matrix is, the suspense is shot and the only thing to do for the next100 minutes is to crank up the effects and pass the ammo.

"The Matrix" is a curiosity, and it's definitelya good ride. It's a handsome picture with extremely slick photography,computer-enhanced stunts and neo-goth atmosphere. The problem is it couldhave been so much more.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 60 mins

In Theaters: Monday 1st March 1993

Box Office Worldwide: $463.5M

Budget: $63M

Production compaines: Silver Pictures, Warner Bros., Village Roadshow Pictures, Groucho II Film Partnership

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

IMDB: 8.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Neo, as Morpheus, as Trinity, as Agent Smith, as Oracle, as Cypher, as Tank, as Apoc, Matt Doran as Mouse, Belinda McClory as Switch, Anthony Ray Parker as Dozer, as Agent Brown, as Agent Jones, David Aston as Rhineheart, Marc Aden as Choi, Ada Nicodemou as White Rabbit Girl, Deni Gordon as Priestess, Rowan Witt as Spoon Boy, Bill Young as Lieutenant, Eleanor Witt as Potential, Tamara Brown as Potential, Janaya Pender as Potential, Adryn White as Potential, Natalie Tjen as Potential, David O'Connor as FedEx Man, Jeremy Ball as Businessman, Fiona Johnson as Woman in Red, Harry Lawrence as Old Man, Steve Dodd as Blind Man, Luke Quinton as Security Guard, Lawrence Woodward as Guard, Michael Butcher as Cop Who Captures Neo, Bernard Ledger as Big Cop, Robert Simper as Cop, Chris Pattinson as Cop, Nigel Harbach as Parking Cop, Rana Morrison as Shaylae - Woman in Office (uncredited)

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.