The Matrix (1999)
Reviewed on 2011 February 22
I don’t know anything about Zhuangzi, except he’s the Chinese philosopher who had such a convincing dream about being a butterfly that when he woke up, he wondered if the reality was that he was a butterfly just dreaming he was a profound Chinese. I wonder if the Wachowskis studied him, because they took that concept to its bizarre extreme in this. I know that one of them loves some Lewis Carroll.
Thomas Anderson, aka Neo (Keanu Reeves) is a hacker by night and a suit by day, happy to take stacks of cash for his extracurricular work until he gets a cryptic message displayed on his computer. He’s advised to follow the white rabbit, and sure enough, one of his customers comes by, inviting him to a rave…and turning to reveal a cute white bunny tattoo on her shoulder. Neo goes along and meets Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), a world-class hacker in her own right who tells him things are not what they seem, pretty much on any plane of existence here. He needs to meet Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburne, rocking a leather duster and earless sunglasses like he was born with them), who tells Keanu that his hacker skills are going to be needed in ways he can’t imagine.
I enjoy watching stuff blow up in action flicks, and if the acting is good too that’s the icing on the cake. Mr. Shukti wrote this off, dismissing it as pretty but empty and wouldn’t watch it. His loss. I thought it was great, even the now overdone slo-mo fight scenes where the whole posse looked like they stripped out a Wilson’s Leather store. Despite the shiny veneer and leather, it’s not all incredible special effects and not shallow. I’m sure in those quiet hours driving to work, tweaking a spreadsheet for the millionth time because the boss keeps changing stuff or watching that dork in accounting get an undeserved promotion because they wore the right tie, lots of us wonder why things work out (or not) the way they do.
Three chocolate morsels. And now I want to be Trinity when I grow up.