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73

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

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8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 775 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. Reviewed by: Marc Caro
    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: 17 out of 193
  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. MikeM
    Jun 1, 2009
    10
    Best movie Ive ever seen besides Braveheart. The fight scenes were amazing. Loved the rotating camera and slow motion effects. The story line Best movie Ive ever seen besides Braveheart. The fight scenes were amazing. Loved the rotating camera and slow motion effects. The story line was really good. Anyone that does not give this movie a ten obviously has bad taste in movies or just didn't really understand the movie!. Expand
  3. Sep 10, 2011
    10
    Despite TRON being my all time, video game related movies of all time, The Matrix is my all time bad ass, cool, computer/hacker movies. IDespite TRON being my all time, video game related movies of all time, The Matrix is my all time bad ass, cool, computer/hacker movies. I find it hard NOT to love. It has action, martial arts so the 'easily entertained by action' viewers can have something, the 'computer goers' like myself have something to get into and when it's all thrown together it makes the perfect combination of action and story. Expand
  4. May 6, 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 four-star 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.

    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.
    Expand
  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. Jul 2, 2012
    8
    The Wachowski Brothers' sci-fi actioner is primarily remembered for its distinctive aesthetic style and physics-defying action, but what makesThe Wachowski Brothers' sci-fi actioner is primarily remembered for its distinctive aesthetic style and physics-defying action, but what makes The Matrix really stand out is its exceedingly creative exploration of some big philosophical themes, most notably concepts of reality and free will. These ideas are discussed through the film's dark and layered story premise that supposes humanity's research into artificial intelligence technology resulted in a machine rebellion and the near-total extinction of the human race, and the construction of an elaborate computer simulation dubbed "The Matrix" in order to keep the survivors enslaved. The plot leaves ample opportunity for flaunting plenty of eye-popping and complex action sequences, groundbreaking special effects, and for some quotes from the Wachowski's simple but effective script to become iconic. All the cast are strong, particularly Reeves, Weaving and the quite brilliant Joe Pantoliano, whose performance is complex, entertaining and full of subtle nuances. The best scenes in the film are Neo's training for survival within The Matrix, where essential skills are uploaded directly to his noggin, and his climactic fight with the film's primary antagonist, Agent Smith. As effective a blockbuster as The Matrix is, the strong religious overtones of certain elements of the plot can be a little hard to swallow when they become too blatant, and some of the supposedly intellectual concepts Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) attempts to explain to Neo, and by extension the viewer, sometimes sound like they have been lifted from a high school philosophy essay. Despite these little gripes, The Matrix is always fun, visually stunning and considerably more intelligent than the vast majority of modern big-budget science fiction films.The sequels never surpassed this first instalment on any terms, even with the mountains of cash that was piled onto the franchise, so remember this one with fondness, and perhaps forget the others, particularly Revolutions. 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 193 User Reviews

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