The Matrix

The Matrix Image
Metascore
73

Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics What's this?

User Score
9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 1008 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: A computer hacker (Reeves) learns that his entire life has been a virtual dream, orchestrated by a strange class of computer overlords in the far future. He joins a resistance movement (led by Fishburne) to free humanity from lives of computerized brainwashing.

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 35
  2. Negative: 1 out of 35
  1. 91
    The Matrix slams you back in your chair, pops open your eyes and leaves your jaw hanging slack in amazement.
  2. Reviewed by: Cody Clark
    90
    This wildly imaginative thriller is a futuristic head trip you most definitely want to take.
  3. With its mix of Lewis Carroll and William Gibson; Japanese anime and Chinese chopsocky; mythological allusions, and machine-made illusion, offers a couple of hours of escapist fun.
  4. For those who have been waiting for movies to catch up with the graphic possibilities of comic books, wait no longer: The Matrix is among us.
  5. 75
    The writing remains more intelligent than most thrillers, and the action is executed with such panache that even if you don't buy the reality of The Matrix, it's a helluva place to visit.
  6. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    70
    Given a budget that encourages their kinesthetic skills, the filmmakers tend to go on a bit, but it's mostly a kind of quick, glancing hipness that's being indulged here.
  7. It's astonishing that so much money, talent, technical expertise and visual imagination can be put in the service of something so stupid.

See all 35 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 18 out of 203
  1. Jul 10, 2011
    10
    An excellent movie with tons of special effects, fight scenes, etc., and the best thing is that they are all done perfectly. A really goodAn excellent movie with tons of special effects, fight scenes, etc., and the best thing is that they are all done perfectly. A really good film with an interesting story behind it. YOU'LL ENJOY IT. Expand
  2. DonnaM
    Dec 20, 2007
    10
    The movie is excellent! I did not even pay attention to the special effects, It is the concept that really rocks! Extremely mind blowing! The movie is excellent! I did not even pay attention to the special effects, It is the concept that really rocks! Extremely mind blowing! This is the best movie I ever saw! Expand
  3. Jan 15, 2011
    10
    No matter how mush times you watch this, its always entertaining. The story is very deep, the cast is great and the special effects are stillNo matter how mush times you watch this, its always entertaining. The story is very deep, the cast is great and the special effects are still good even if this game out more 11 years ago. Expand
  4. May 9, 2015
    9
    There's no sophomore jinx for the Wachowski Brothers. Andy and Larry, a pair of obviously talented film makers, have returned to theaters withThere's no sophomore jinx for the Wachowski Brothers. Andy and Larry, a pair of obviously talented film makers, have returned to theaters with The Matrix, a science fiction thriller that is every bit the match of their debut effort, Bound, for tension, excitement, and intelligence. In an era when movie scripts (especially those pigeonholed into the science fiction genre) are becoming increasingly more stupid and special effects reliant, the Wachowskis prove that style and substance do not have to be mutually exclusive.

    I loved The Matrix, and only a few minor contrivances associated with the climax caused the film to miss a 10/10 rating. The movie is kinetic, atmospheric, visually stunning, and mind-bending. It toys with the boundaries between reality and fantasy in unique and interesting ways. In its approach and content, it reminded me of last year's vastly underrated Dark City. There's also a synergy with two movies due to be released within the next month: David Cronenberg's eXistenZ and Alejandro Amenabar's Open Your Eyes. The Matrix is undeniably science fiction, but, unlike most pictures claiming that association, it never falls into the boring, expected patterns of space battles and laser gun shoot-outs. Instead, it ventures into territory that, while not virgin, is sufficiently interesting to provide an involving, invigorating backdrop.

    There's much more to The Matrix than this, but to explain further would be to reveal plot twists better discovered through viewing. Although the film frequently toys with the blurred line between grim reality and computer-generated fantasy, it rarely leaves the viewer completely confused (except, perhaps, at the very beginning). The Wachowskis have carefully structured the story in such a way that the audience is capable of following the action and understanding what's going on even when all of the secrets have not been revealed. Nevertheless, because The Matrix is intelligent, it will defeat those unwilling to invest some intellectual participation. The payoff is worth the effort.

    Stylistically, The Matrix is much like Bound. Both films are visually stunning, with images painstakingly constructed and action sequences choreographed to excite the eye and quicken the pulse. The Wachowskis use a varied pallette that includes shadows, slow motion, quick cuts, and offbeat humor to paint a unique portrait. Like in Dark City, theirs is a grim world, where darkness and gloom seemingly always hold sway. Everything from the set design to the costumes (lots of black, lots of sunglasses) is intended to contribute to an overall look. When it comes to shoot-outs, the Wachowskis show that John Woo isn't the only director capable of doing interesting things with familiar devices. The shots of Keanu Reeves streaking down a hall with guns blazing all around him and the air thick with shattered bits of concrete is only one of many snapshots that lingers in the mind's eye long after they have vanished from the screen. The special effects, which are not as numerous as those in many science fiction pieces, are flawless.

    Keanu Reeves is not generally regarded as a strong actor, but, given the right part - one that doesn't demand much subtlety or emoting - he can be effective. His role as Neo fits the criteria. The Matrix needs a leading man who can look good, act cool, and not stumble over his dialogue, and Reeves is three for three. It's easily his best work since Speed, where the same kinds of demands were made of him. For more nuanced performances, the Wachowskis rely on the rest of the cast: the always excellent Laurence Fishburne, brilliant character actor Joe Pantoliano (who appeared in Bound), and Carrie-Anne Moss, who looks great in black leather. Aussie Hugo Weaving (Proof) brings the perfect mix of dry wit and menace to his role as the head Man in Black.

    The Matrix offers a little something for everyone. The die-hard science fiction fan will discover a plot that mixes and matches both new and old conventions of the genre in a compelling fashion. Action aficionados will find that there's no shortage of electric excitement, whether it's in the form of hand-to-hand kung fu-type fights or shoot-outs with seemingly limitless ammunition. There's also betrayal, a little romance, some humor, and a moral dilemma or two, all wrapped into a well-produced package. As I stated earlier, the way in which the Wachowskis choose to resolve everything seems slightly contrived, but, in the overall scheme of things, that's a small price to pay for one of the most enjoyable science fiction thrillers to reach the screen in months.
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  5. Feb 11, 2012
    9
    The late '90s were a period in film that saw a sudden resurgence in science fiction. The quickly approaching Y2K symbolised a time ofThe late '90s were a period in film that saw a sudden resurgence in science fiction. The quickly approaching Y2K symbolised a time of transition, wonder, and technological advancement. Though these positives are reflected in The Matrix, it is mostly the negative aspects of the new millennium's dawn that it feeds upon. Paranoia, uncertainty, and fear are the themes that the film addresses like no other in Hollywood at the time, while simultaneously being action-packed and visually stunning. What The Matrix is perhaps most well known for, however, is its complex, engaging plot that almost any viewer can relate to. All of this is delivered with superb direction, making full use of subtle nuances and symbolism to embellish the story. The only misstep lies in the casting of Reeves, who is so painfully uncharismatic and distant in his performance that it's puzzling how he could ever be the chosen one of anything. Expand
  6. Sep 30, 2011
    8
    i absolutely loved the spectacular future vision! it must have taken quite the imagination to come up with such a future for our earth. thei absolutely loved the spectacular future vision! it must have taken quite the imagination to come up with such a future for our earth. the action is unmatched too. Expand
  7. PaulK
    Oct 10, 2007
    0
    One of the worst movies of the last 10 years. Horrible acting by Reeves, a stupid script and an even dumber plot. Nothing more than a special One of the worst movies of the last 10 years. Horrible acting by Reeves, a stupid script and an even dumber plot. Nothing more than a special effects display disguised as a movie. Expand

See all 203 User Reviews

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