The Matrix (film)

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I'm going to show these people what you don't want them to see. I'm going to show them … a world without rules or controls, borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.

The Matrix is a 1999 film about a computer hacker who learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against the controllers of it.

Written and directed by the Wachowskis.
Be Afraid of the Future.  (taglines)


Unfortunately, no one can be told what The Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.
  • I know you're out there. I can feel you now. I know that you're afraid. You're afraid of us. You're afraid of change. I don't know the future. I didn't come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it's going to begin. I'm going to hang up this phone, and then I'm going to show these people what you don't want them to see. I'm going to show them a world without you. A world without rules or controls, borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.


  • Dodge this. [shoots Agent at point-blank range]

Agent Smith[edit]

As you can see, we've had our eye on you for some time now, Mr. Anderson. It seems that you've been living two lives. In one life, you're Thomas A. Anderson, program writer for a respectable software company. You have a Social Security number, you pay your taxes, and you… help your landlady carry out her garbage. The other life is lived in computers, where you go by the hacker alias "Neo" and are guilty of virtually every computer crime we have a law for. One of these lives has a future, and one of them does not.
  • As you can see, we've had our eye on you for some time now, Mr. Anderson. It seems that you've been living two lives. In one life, you're Thomas A. Anderson, program writer for a respectable software company. You have a Social Security number, you pay your taxes, and your landlady carry out her garbage. The other life is lived in computers, where you go by the hacker alias "Neo" and are guilty of virtually every computer crime we have a law for. One of these lives has a future, and one of them does not.
  • I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You're a plague and we are the cure.


The answer is out there, Neo, and it's looking for you, and it will find you if you want it to.
Do not try to bend the spoon — that's impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth: there is no spoon.
Trinity: [approaches Neo at a nightclub] Hello, Neo.
Neo: How do you know that name?
Trinity: I know a lot about you.
Neo: Who are you?
Trinity: My name is Trinity.
Neo: Trinity…The Trinity? That cracked the IRS d-base?
Trinity: That was a long time ago.
Neo: Jesus.
Trinity: What?
Neo: I just thought, um…you were a guy.
Trinity: Most guys do.

Trinity: I know why you're here, Neo. I know what you've been doing … why you hardly sleep, why you live alone, and why night after night, you sit at your computer. You're looking for him. I know because I was once looking for the same thing. And when he found me, he told me I wasn't really looking for him. I was looking for an answer. It's the question that drives us, Neo. It's the question that brought you here. You know the question, just as I did.
Neo: What is the Matrix?
Trinity: The answer is out there, Neo, and it's looking for you, and it will find you if you want it to.

[Smith is offering Neo amnesty to help Smith apprehend Morpheus]
Agent Smith: We're willing to wipe this slate clean, give you a fresh start. All that we're asking in return is your cooperation in bringing a known terrorist to justice.
Neo: Yeah. Well, that sounds like a pretty good deal. But I think I may have a better one: How about I give you the finger...[shows his middle finger to Smith] and you give me my phone call?
Agent Smith: Mr. disappoint me.
Neo: You can't scare me with this Gestapo crap. I know my rights. I want my phone call.
Agent Smith: Tell me, Mr. Anderson, what good is a phone call if you' speak? [Neo’s mouth suddenly starts to "melt together" until he's completely mute; he backs into the corner of the room as agents hold him and them push him towards the table as Smith readies to implant a bug into Neo.] You're going to help us, Mr. Anderson. Whether you want to or not. [The "bug" turns into an actual insect and enters Neo through his navel. After it enters him, he wakes up at home in bed]

Morpheus: Let me tell you why you're here. You're here because you know something. What you know, you can't explain, but you feel it. You've felt it your entire life that there's something wrong with this world. You don't know what, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad [beat] Do you know, what I'm talking about?
Neo: About the Matrix?
Morpheus: Do you want to know what it is? [Neo nods in response] The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work. When you go to church. When you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Morpheus: [leans in closer to Neo] That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Born into a prison that you cannot smell or taste or touch. A prison for your mind. [pause] Unfortunately, no one can be…told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself. [opens pillbox, empties contents into his palms, outstretches his hands] This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill [opens his right hand revealing blue pill], the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill [opens his left hand revealing red pill], you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. [Neo, after a pause, reaches for the red pill] Remember: all I'm offering is the truth. Nothing more. [Neo takes the red pill]...Follow me.

Morpheus: I won't lie to you, Neo. Every single man or woman who has stood their ground, everyone who has fought an agent has died. But where they have failed, you will succeed.
Neo: Why?
Morpheus: I've seen an agent punch through a concrete wall. Men have emptied entire clips at them and hit nothing but air. Yet their strength and their speed are still based in a world that is built on rules. Because of that, they will never be as strong or as fast as you can be.
Neo: What are you trying to tell me, that I can dodge bullets?
Morpheus: No, Neo. I'm trying to tell you that when you're ready, you won't have to.

Agent Smith: [he and Cypher are eating at a fancy restaurant] Do we have a deal, Mr. Reagan?
Cypher: [cuts a piece of steak; holds it in front of him] Y’know, I know this steak doesn't exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious. After nine years, you know what I realize? [eats the piece of steak; sighs contently] Ignorance is bliss.
Agent Smith: Then we have a deal?
Cypher: I don't wanna remember nothing. Nothing, you understand? And I wanna be rich. Y'know, someone important…like an actor.
Agent Smith: Whatever you want, Mr. Reagan.
Cypher: Okay. Get my body back into a power plant, re-insert me into the Matrix, I'll get you what you want.
Agent Smith: Access codes to the Zion mainframe.
Cypher: No, I told you, I don't know them. I can get you the man who does.
Agent Smith: Morpheus.

[a boy picks up a spoon, and looks at it. The spoon suddenly starts to bend and twist, seemingly on its own. The boy notices Neo, and the spoon straightens out again. The boy then offers Neo the spoon, who takes it and looks at it]
Spoon boy: Do not try and bend the spoon—that's impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Spoon boy: There is no spoon.
Neo: There is no spoon?
Spoon boy: Then you will see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.

The Oracle: You know why Morpheus brought you to see me?
Neo: I think so.
The Oracle: So, what do you think? Do you think you're The One?
Neo: I don't know.
The Oracle: [the latin phrase Temet Nosce appears on an inscription over the Oracle's door] You know what that means? It's Latin. Means "Know thyself". I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Being The One is just like being in love. No one can tell you you're in love, you just know it. Through and through. Balls to bones.

About The Matrix (film)[edit]

  • Philosophical objections aside, I think I reacted negatively to “The Matrix” because I had a sense of what was coming. Neo triumphs by breaking the rules, and the Wachowskis, shifting from one style of representation to another, sending bullets harmlessly through the air, bringing simulated characters back from death, broke most of the rules of filmmaking, too. In this movie, they worked as artists, and some of “The Matrix” is thrilling. But later directors have violated the laws of time and space so opportunistically that the new freedom provided by digital invention has often become meaningless. Even worse than meaningless—destructive. By last summer, I was ready to declare my allegiance to realism; or at least to the common-sense idea that successful stories depend on limits, restrictions, consequences. Stories without death can't interest us for very long. Summing up: I regret how casually I wrote about “The Matrix,” but I think I was on to something bad that was about to be unleashed on movies.
  • Too bad, because the set-up is intriguing. "The Matrix" recycles the premises of "Dark City" and "Strange Days," turns up the heat and the volume, and borrows the gravity-defying choreography of Hong Kong action movies. It's fun, but it could have been more. The directors are Larry and Andy Wachowski, who know how to make movies (their first film, "Bound," made my 10 best list in 1996). Here, with a big budget and veteran action producer Joel Silver, they've played it safer; there's nothing wrong with going for the Friday night action market, but you can aim higher and still do business.
  • Both "Dark City" and "Strange Days" offered intriguing motivations for villainy. "Matrix" is more like a superhero comic book in which the fate of the world comes down to a titanic fist-fight between the designated representatives of good and evil. It's cruel, really, to put tantalizing ideas on the table and then ask the audience to be satisfied with a shoot-out and a martial arts duel. Let's assume Neo wins. What happens then to the billions who have just been "unplugged" from the Matrix? Do they still have jobs? Homes? Identities? All we get is an enigmatic voice-over exhortation at the movie's end. The paradox is that the Matrix world apparently resembles in every respect the pre-Matrix world. (I am reminded of the animated kid's film "Doug's 1st Movie," which has a VR experience in which everything is exactly like in real life, except more expensive.) Still, I must not ignore the movie's virtues. It's great-looking, both in its design and in the kinetic energy that powers it. It uses flawlessly integrated special effects and animation to visualize regions of cyberspace. It creates fearsome creatures, including mechanical octopi. It morphs bodies with the abandon of "Terminator II: Judgement Day." It uses f/x to allow Neo and Trinity to run horizontally on walls, and hang in the air long enough to deliver karate kicks. It has leaps through space, thrilling sequences involving fights on rooftops, helicopter rescues and battles over mind control.
  • Mr. Reeves plays a late-20th-century computer hacker whose terminal begins telling him one fateful day that he may have some sort of messianic function in deciding the fate of the world. And what that function may be is so complicated that it takes the film the better part of an hour to explain. Dubbed Neo (in a film whose similarly portentous character names include Morpheus and Trinity, with a time-traveling vehicle called Nebuchadnezzar), the hacker is gradually made to understand that everything he imagines to be real is actually the handiwork of 21st-century computers. These computers have subverted human beings into batterylike energy sources confined to pods, and they can be stopped only by a savior modestly known as the One.
  • With enough visual bravado to sustain a steady element of surprise (even when the film's most important Oracle turns out to be a grandmotherly type who bakes cookies and has magnets on her refrigerator), The Matrix makes particular virtues out of eerily inhuman lighting effects, lightning-fast virtual scene changes (as when Neo wishes for guns and thousands of them suddenly appear) and the martial arts stunts that are its single strongest selling point. As supervised by Yuen Wo Ping, these airborne sequences bring Hong Kong action style home to audiences in a mainstream American adventure with big prospects as a cult classic and with the future very much in mind.
  • Economically made in Australia for about $60 million, live-action comic book marks a big step up in ambition for writer-directors Andy and Larry Wachowski, whose first film was the lesbian crime meller “Bound.” Reportedly, the brothers penned “The Matrix” first and have been working on it steadily for five years; from the evidence, they were grafting on surplus ideas during that time rather than subtracting and synthesizing. Not only is it a good half-hour too long, but there are so many elements here — Christian motifs and mysticism, half-baked Eastern philosophy, Lewis Carroll refs, ambiguous oracular prophecies, the co-existence of two realities, pod-grown babies, time travel, creatures capable of rebirth and, all importantly, the expectation of the arrival of the Chosen One — as to prove utterly indigestible.
  • The morphing involved in numerous scenes is outstandingly fluid and vivid, but it's the way the martial arts are handled, as promised in the opening teaser, that sets “The Matrix” apart. Chinese kung fu and wire-stunt ace Yuen Wo Ping was engaged to choreograph the fight sequences, which are on a level perhaps unsurpassed in an American film. Beyond that, filmmakers have employed a technique they call “bullet-time photography,” ultra-fast lensing that, when combined with computer enhancement, allows for altering the speed and trajectories of people and objects, resulting in the live-action equivalent of a Japanese anime film.
  • It's really simple. The truth of that one is that design staff on The Matrix were given Invisibles collections and told to make the movie look like my books. This is a reported fact. The Wachowskis are comic book creators and fans and were fans of my work, so it's hardly surprising. I was even contacted before the first Matrix movie was released and asked if I would contribute a story to the website. (...) I'm not angry about it anymore, although at one time I was, because they made millions from what was basically a Xerox of my work and to be honest, I would be happy with just one million so I didn't have to work thirteen hours of every fucking day, including weekends.
  • There's this one scene where I run up the walls. It lasts about 30 seconds, but it took months of training. I did that scene for hours and hours, and it was hard. You have to put complete trust in the spotters (who catch you if you fall). I remember when they took the padding off the concrete walls and asked me to do the scene. I couldn't. I freaked. I went home that day and cried and cried. I was afraid and the fear got me.
  • Get this: what if all we know as reality was, in fact, virtual reality? Reality itself is a ravaged dystopia run by technocrat Artificial Intelligence where humankind vegetates in billions of gloop-filled tanks - mere battery packs for the machineworld - being fed this late '90s VR (known as The Matrix - you with us here?) through an ugly great cable stuck in the back of our heads. And what if there was a group of quasi-spiritual rebels infiltrating The Matrix with the sole purpose of crashing the ruddy great mainframe and rescuing humans from their unknown purgatory? And, hey, what if Keanu Reeves was their Messiah?
  • Reeves and Fishburne make a convincing team of master and student badasses, and Moss more than holds her own for the Riot Grrrl contingent. As the shape-shifting Smith, Weaving calls to mind the sullen cool of "Terminator 2: Judgment Day's" Robert Patrick as the liquid-metal villain T-1000.
  • At first viewing, the action sequences stun, but there's more to this than the groundbreaking "bullet time" photography, or the adolescent allure of flash, black clothes and big, black guns.
    Sure, "The Matrix" is almost untenably cool, but beneath the sheen there's substance. The story's a potent mix of buddhism, Greek mythology, and - predominantly - the Christian gospel.
    The image of a superficial existence, where ignorant people thrive by blocking out a troublesome reality, is potent for a Western society drowning in wealth while the rest of the world suffers.
  • A futuristic kung-fu fantasy with terrific stunts and a stunted script Keanu Reeves plays Neo, a computer hacker who thinks he's living in the twentieth century but is really a pawn in a giant virtual-reality game controlled by twenty-second-century programmers. Dude! Damned if I can explain more about this muddled mind-bender, except to say that Neo is recruited by Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) to join her leader, Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), in a rebellion against those who would enslave them. If fashion dictates choosing sides, it's a lock for the kinky rebels who wear black leather and cool shades.
  • Written and directed by the Wachowski brothers, Larry and Andy, "The Matrix" is the unlikely spiritual love child of dark futurist Philip K. Dick and the snap and dazzle of Hong Kong filmmaking, with digital technology serving as the helpful midwife.
  • Just as exciting are "The Matrix's" two kinds of action sequences. One strata involves John Woo-type expenditures of massive amounts of ammunition shot in super slow-motion and the other uses both Hong Kong-style stunt work and a technique the press notes refer to as "bullet-time photography" that involved shooting film at the computer-aided equivalent of 12,000 frames per second.
    "The Matrix" cast members who were involved in the film's eye-catching kung fu fight sequences also apparently committed to four months of pre-production work with Hong Kong director and stunt coordinator Yuen Wo Ping, someone who specializes in the technique, known as wire fighting, that gives H.K. films like "Drunken Master," "Once Upon a Time in China" and "Fist of Legend" their distinctive high-flying look.
    Not everything in "The Matrix" makes even minimal sense, but the Wachowski brothers, said to be major fans of comic books and graphic novels, are sure-handed enough to smoothly pull us over the rough spots. When a film is as successful as this one is at hooking into the kinetic joy of adrenalized movie making, quibbling with it feels beside the point.
    • Kenneth Turan, [An Apocalypse of Kinetic Joy "An Apocalypse of Kinetic Joy"] Los Angeles Times, (March 31, 1999).
  • It's a story about consciousness, a child's perception of an adult's world. The Matrix is about the birth and evolution of consciousness. It starts off crazy, then things start to make sense


  • Be Afraid of the Future.
  • Free your mind.
  • The Fight for the Future Begins.
  • Believe the unbelievable.
  • Reality is a thing of the past.
  • What is The Matrix?
  • Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.
  • Welcome to the Real World.
  • There is no spoon.
  • I can only show you the door, you have to walk through it.
  • Follow the white rabbit.
  • In a world of 1s and 0s... are you a zero, or The One?
  • Future is not User Friendly.


See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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