The Matrix (1999): Andy Wachowski Larry Wachowski (directors) a jpoc movie review
Can custom shades and leather trenchcoats save mankind?
Main Cast
Keanu Reeves Thomas A. Anderson/Neo
Laurence Fishburne Morpheus
Carrie-Anne Moss Trinity
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jpoc rating and notes
Six out of ten.
I first watched this on DVD at a friend's house in Denmark.
jpoc review
There comes a time in the development of movie special effects when producers are faced with a dilemma. The available effects simply outstrip the ability of plausible storylines to exploit them. "The Matrix" is one of the first movies to hit this limit and it sidesteps the problem with the plot device of assuming that the world is not real and so people in the world can do anything that they can imagine and the laws of physics can go hang.

So, what is the world if it is not what it seems?

A small group of people discover that humankind is being subjected to a massive deception and they set out to free their fellows and defeat those responsible for the deception. The world has been taken over by computers but they have no source of electrical power. They have however found a way to generate all that they need from captive humans who are bred and kept in tanks. In order to keep the humans happy, they are all hooked into a form of shared virtual reality, the matrix, which resembles the modern world.

Those people what have realised what is going on are fighting back. One such team, led by Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) thinks that in Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) known by his hacker alias Neo, they have found their Messiah. A man who can take on the computers and even defeat their agents in the matrix. They set out to free Neo show him reality and train him to fight against the computers.

You can guess the rest. Neo gets trained and has his big showdown with the computers and their agents and it all ends up nicely set for a follow up or two. So, with all that as a given, what of the movie? If you want plot, forget it. What there is has so many holes and cliches that it is almost painful. Sadly, the same goes for acting. Reeves just wheels out his disappointingly lackluster Johnny Mnemonic portrayal and nobody else ever really makes you care about their character or their fate. Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity, a fellow freedom fighter and Neo's love interest, left the impression that she was on the verge of acting a decent part but that was as far as she got.

That is a shame and so it all comes down to the stunts and effects. They do not disappoint. If you have the DVD, a lot of patience and perhaps a crib sheet, you can see some signs of the techniques used in the stunts but they are well executed and the movie scores full marks in this department.

Given that "Blade Runner", the "Terminator" movies, "Total Recall" and the "Alien" series all showed the way in terms of SF Noir, this movie could, and should, have been better. If seen as pure escapism, it does outrank those movies and remains one of the best choices for a re-run with some buddies and a six pack.