The Matrix (1999)
Directed by The Wachowskis
Sometimes a sci-fi movie comes along that says more about reality than about the fiction it is presenting on-screen. In 1999, “The Matrix” proved that it was definitely one of those sci-fi movies.
Computer software programmer Neo (Keanu Reeves) thinks he’s living the normal life he was meant to lead. But he’s actually living in the Matrix, a simulated “real life” where everything is a figment of one’s perception. Soon, a team of humans, led by Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburne), Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), and Cypher (Joe Pantoliano), who have already found their way out of the Matrix, will reach out to Neo. They’ll rescue him from the regular world he thinks is reality and bring him into the messed up, dystopian world that actually is. They tell him he’s The One, the one who will finally bring an end to the evil sentinels (all Hugo Weaving, incredibly sinister as Mr. Smith) who run the Matrix and seek to destroy the last remaining real-world humans. But he’s not so sure.
“The Matrix” has a point. Maybe we’re not living in a computer-generated fiction world, but are we not living in a world run by the perceptions of what we want to be true? Do we not often enough question the authorities that tell us right from wrong? In a way, isn’t that a Matrix in itself? Whatever you believe, “The Matrix” will make you think long and hard. The script, written by Andy and Larry (now Lana) Wachowski, is smartly written and full of thought-provoking and intelligent lines. Lines as simple as “There is no spoon” can make you question whether or not you’re taking control of your life or simply believing what has been believed for ages. The depth of the script helps create the DUN DUN DUN drama that the action only perpetuates.
After 15 years, “The Matrix” doesn’t remain a cult classic just for its script. No, it’s also for its high-octane action, incredibly choreographed fight scenes, and thrilling story. It covers a whole range of fighting, from kung fu to epic shoot-outs. It’s where complicated science fiction meets easily understandable and accessible awesomeness.
“The Matrix” is an action movie with a message. It’s a morality play with guns. It’s lasted this long not for its 1999 special effects (which have, in fact, stood the test of time), but for its relevant and universal themes. Watch and learn.