Matrix, The (1999)

The Matrix (1999), written and directed by The Wachowskis.

I must have been in a sour mood when The Matrix first appeared, because it just irritated me.

I think it was because I had my head down in a stressful computer job and the film suddenly appeared as a phenomenon without my prior knowledge or permission. I resented the people going nuts over stuff I cared about but which I didn't have time to deal with then: computers, cyberpunk science fiction, hacker culture, deep thoughts on the nature of reality.

What bothered me:

Having gotten over my petulance, I like it better now. A remarkable vision and ambitious presentation of the story.

The admirable aspects, most of which are illuminated by the later films:

After the recent rewatch I'm having second thoughts about Neo as a miracle-worker. He was able to save Trinity in the Matrix but not in the outer reality. Could be he has powers -- being able to stop the attack machines and seeing without eyes -- because he, like Picard with the Borg, has some mysterious connection with the Matrix and his "powers" are routed through that channel. Meaning he is not "divine" in this reality.

In retrospect the big action scenes which take up so much of all three films are not as important as they used to be. So many films have copied the spectacle and Big Beat Down since.

I've spent my time on the ideas rather than the production but wanted to commend the cast. All seem devoted to the project and interested in making their characters work. Laurence Fishburne is sensitive as the warrior-prophet, teetering on the edge of faith and doubt. Hugo Weaving delights as a deranged AI.

Photographed by Bill Pope (Bound (1996)).

Available on Blu-ray with several commentary tracks, none of which seemed to be essential listening.