Today I invite you all to another new feature for my blog, Raist (Re-) Visits. In this series of posts I will review a few of my favorite classic movies from the past that I have recently rewatched. There will be movies from pretty much every category you can think of, so I hope there will be something for everyone here. For this first installment I have chosen a movie that dates back to the year 1999. I usually get three reactions when I leave a theatre having just seen a new film. The reaction I long for the most of course is being in complete awe of something, a film so powerful or good that I pretty much want to see it again right away. The last time that happened was with the phenomenal Blade Runner 2049. The experience I don’t want to have is to feel cheated, or simply put wanting my money back for the ticket I just bought. That usually happens when a film is particularly bad, or when I looked forward to something immensely and it ended up being a major disappointment. (*Cough The Last Jedi *Cough). So what’s the third reaction then? Well, that’s where I leave the theatre confused, not knowing exactly what to make of the film I just watched. That doesn’t mean that the movie is bad, it just means that my mind needs time to process something. And that’s what happened to me the first time I saw The Matrix. So are we ready to take the red pill again?
Thomas Anderson works as a computer programmer and has a pretty uneventful life. One could even say it’s rather dull. To spice things up, Thomas is also a hacker, a well known one in the scene under his alias Neo. Lately though he can’t help but feel that there is something wrong with the world he lives in. He can’t really explain why he feels like that, but he is becoming more and more convinced of it. Especially when during his online encounters he keeps running into the phrase “ The Matrix”. He doesn’t quite know what to do about it though, until he gets contacted by a woman named Trinity. She tells him that if he wants answers to his questions, he should find the man named Morpheus. At first Neo is a bit skeptical about all of it, but then things become deadly serious when a group of police agents led by some sinister looking men in black come looking for him at his place of work. Morpheus calls Thomas at that precise moment on his cell phone, to help him escape out of the office, but to no avail unfortunately as he is eventually captured. A man who introduces himself as agent Smith tries to coerce the young computer specialist in helping him find Morpheus, a man they consider to be a terrorist. During the interrogation some seriously weird and quite horrible things happen, but then mister Anderson wakes up in his bed. It must have been a dream right?
Well, one would think so, but then the phone rings and Morpheus is on the other end of the line again. He tells him that Neo is “The One” and asks him if he still wants to meet. Thomas agrees, and after a quite frankly pretty unbelievable car ride, is brought before the enigmatic man by Trinity and a group of other people. After a conversation between the two there is one burning question that hangs in the air: What is the Matrix? Thomas Anderson is presented with a choice between taking two pills. The blue pill will take Neo back to his mundane life without any answers. The red pill wil let him stay in Wonderland so to speak, and discover the truth. Thomas chooses the latter, and discovers that his entire life has been a lie. However the real world is a place of horror too unbelievable to comprehend, and eventually Neo’s importance is revealed. The stakes? Nothing less than the fate of the entire human race…..Twenty one years ago I left the theatre after seeing this film in complete and utter bewilderment. This movie was so far removed from everything that I had ever seen in the world of science fiction that my mind probably went into a small meltdown. But it kept circling around in my mind. Pretty much exactly what happened to the character of Thomas Anderson played by Keanu Reeves, I kept asking myself what is The Matrix? Needless to say, I went back to seeing the film a week later, and am very glad that I did so.
Because truly The Matrix is one of the best science fiction action movies that has ever been made. It’s a work of cinematic art that is pretty much flawless. The storyline is terrific and multilayered, and there is so much going on, that certain details take time to fall into place. Blending together religion, philosophy, technology, artificial intelligence and so much more, the script is utterly amazing. The world is brought to life by memorable characters, portrayed by a cast of incredible actors. Keanu Reeves was cast perfectly, and at first when I heard that he would perform martial arts in this film I had to laugh. I didn’t see this particular actor pull something like that off, but all the months of training and preparation for this movie were worth it. His action sequences were pretty much performed completely by himself and he did an absolutely astounding job. Lawrence Fishburn played the charismatic Morpheus. His calm and soothing presence throughout the film is something you can’t help but enjoy. Rounding out the trio of characters on the side of good is Trinity, portrayed by actress Carrie Anne Moss. A powerhouse woman, who doesn’t need any help from the men around her, she is more than able to hold her own. She has a couple of the best fight sequences in the film, and has some truly jawdropping moments.
Veteran actor Hugo Weaving’s role is the one I like the best though. Playing the evil Agent Smith, you can pretty much see the joy he has in playing this part. A truly loathsome individual, evil and rotten to the core, you can’t help but smile whenever he makes an appearance on the screen. It’s one of the villains in movie history that you simply can’t forget. Not only is the script and acting topnotch in this movie, but it shines even more in the overall presentation and special effects. The black leather costumes of the main cast, and their distinct sunglasses are totally recognisable and one of the trademarks of the film. The special effects that were groundbreaking and revolutionary at that time (and honestly still are), manage to create a couple of the best action sequences that have ever been produced for a film. I absolutely love this movie, and I had not seen it in quite a while. I was honestly surprised at how good this 21 year old movie still is, and it’s two sequels albeit not as good as the original, still hold up just as well. There is now a fourth movie in the works, with Keanu and Carrie Anne reprising their roles. I can’t help but feel uneasy about this, not knowing if this is actually going to work. I hope it won’t ruin what has been an amazing trilogy, but only time will tell. If you have yet to experience this film for the first time, I can only say that I highly recommend it, and urge you to enter the rabbit hole to see how deep it really goes!
I give The Matrix a 10 out of 10 score.