BFI Classics: The Matrix

Author: Joshua Clover

Comparisons to films that also feature constructed worlds such as The Truman Show, Dark City and even The Thirteenth Floor are obligatory I guess, but relevant. But the author takes a look at the leading man’s background as an actor – or more importantly – his lack of bankability at the time thanks to a slew of critical and commercial failures (save for Speed).

The book also examines the two main constructs of the screenplay; put simply, man against machine and reality as hoax. There is also an interesting look at the film responding perhaps to the increased levels of gaming, and the success of sandbox titles like the Zelda series. But of course we follow the narrative as the author sews together various perspectives on the film, and that the film has itself on the world(s) it portrays.

We leap out of the narrative in places to examine where The Matrix stands in the real world, how it did commercially against other titles, and yet managing to be more well remembered than the box office betters of its time.

The Matrix is a very visceral film, and much time is spent on the visual dynamics of the film in its creation as well as the finished images and what they detail. And I do love me a good subtext or two in visual media. Full marks!

Steven Hurst

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