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The Matrix

Film

The Matrix is a 1999 Australian/American science fiction-action film directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski; starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, and Hugo Weaving. It was first released in the U.S. on March 31, 1999, and is the first installment in The Matrix series of films, comic books, video games, and animation.

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    The Matrix                                        

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  • For Reeves’s character, Neo, choosing to live in the colorless light of hard reality is an easy decision, mostly because The Matrix makes the distinction between those two options very clear: reality may be a difficult brand of freedom, but unreality is nothing more than comfortable slavery. Cruise’s decision in Vanilla Sky is similar, although less sweeping; his choice has more to do with the “credibility” of his happiness (his fake life would be good, but not satisfying). Both men prefer unconditional reality. This is possibly due to the fact that both films are really just sci-fi stories, and science fiction tends to be philosophy for stupid people.1 Every protagonist in a sci-fi story is ultimately a moral creature who does the right thing, often resulting in his own valiant destruction (think Spock in The Wrath of Khan). But what’s intriguing about Keanu and Cruise is that I’m not sure I agree that choosing hard reality is the “right thing.” The Matrix and Vanilla Sky both pose that question—which I appreciate— but their conclusions don’t necessarily make logical (or emotional) sense. And that doesn’t mean these are bad movies; it just forces us to see a different reflection than the director may have intended. It probably makes them more intriguing.

    Chuck KlostermanSex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs

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