The Matrix  

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"From the Gnostic gospels to the visions of Descartes to the shamanic quests of Eastern mystics, the Wachowski brothers' pop opus weaves a dense web of philosophical and metaphysical allusions."--"The Matrix Way of Knowledge (2003) by Erik Davis

"Morpheus offers Neo a choice between the red pill and blue pill; red to reveal the truth about the Matrix, and blue to return him to his former life. Neo swallows the red pill, his reality disintegrates, and he awakens naked in a liquid-filled pod, among countless other humans attached to an elaborate electrical system. He is retrieved and brought aboard Morpheus's flying ship, the Nebuchadnezzar."--Sholem Stein

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The Matrix is a 1999 science fiction action film written and directed by the Wachowskis. It depicts a dystopian future in which humanity is unknowingly trapped inside a simulated reality, the Matrix, which intelligent machines have created to distract humans while using their bodies as an energy source. When computer programmer Thomas Anderson, under the hacker alias "Neo", uncovers the truth, he "is drawn into a rebellion against the machines" along with other people who have been freed from the Matrix.

The Matrix is an example of the cyberpunk subgenre of science fiction. The Wachowskis' approach to action scenes was influenced by Japanese animation and martial arts films, and the film's use of fight choreographers and wire fu techniques from Hong Kong action cinema influenced subsequent Hollywood action film productions. The film popularized a visual effect known as "bullet time", in which the heightened perception of certain characters is represented by allowing the action within a shot to progress in slow-motion while the camera appears to move through the scene at normal speed, allowing the sped-up movements of certain characters to be perceived normally. While some critics have praised the film for its handling of difficult subjects, others have said the deeper themes are largely overshadowed by its action scenes.


At an abandoned hotel within a major city, a police squad corners Trinity, who overpowers them with her superhuman abilities. She flees, pursued by the police and a group of suited Agents capable of similar superhuman feats. She answers a ringing public telephone and vanishes just before an Agent crashes a truck into the booth.

Computer programmer Thomas Anderson, known by his hacking alias "Neo", is puzzled by repeated online encounters with the phrase "the Matrix". Trinity contacts him and tells him a man named Morpheus has the answers he seeks. A team of Agents and police, led by Agent Smith, arrives at Neo's workplace in search of him. Though Morpheus attempts to guide Neo to safety via a phone call, Neo chooses to be captured rather than risk escaping via the window ledge of the skyscraper. The Agents then attempt to coerce Neo into helping them locate Morpheus, whom they claim is a terrorist. Neo insists on his right to a phone call so that he can contact a lawyer, but the agents manipulate the Matrix to cause his mouth to melt shut and implant a spy robot inside him. Neo wakes up from what he believes to be a nightmare and is taken by Trinity to meet Morpheus shortly afterwards. Along the way, they remove a spy robot from Neo's stomach, proving that the nightmare he experienced was real.

Morpheus offers Neo a choice between two pills; red to reveal the truth about the Matrix, and blue to return him to his former life. Neo swallows the red pill, his reality disintegrates, and he awakens naked in a liquid-filled pod, among countless other humans attached to an elaborate electrical system. He is retrieved and brought aboard Morpheus's flying ship, the Nebuchadnezzar.

As Neo recuperates from a lifetime of physical inactivity in the pod, Morpheus explains their situation: in the early 21st century, a war broke out between humanity and intelligent machines. After humans blocked the machines' access to solar energy, the machines responded by capturing humans and harvesting their bioelectric power, while keeping their minds pacified in the Matrix, a shared simulated reality modeled after the world as it was in 1999. The machines won the war, and the underground city of Zion is the last refuge of free humans. Morpheus and his crew are a group of rebels who hack into the Matrix to "unplug" enslaved humans and recruit them; their understanding of the Matrix's simulated nature allows them to bend its physical laws. Morpheus warns Neo that death within the Matrix kills the physical body, and the Agents are sentient computer programs that eliminate threats to the system, while machines called Sentinels eliminate rebels in the real world. Neo's prowess during virtual training cements Morpheus's belief that Neo is "the One", a human prophesied to free humankind.

The group enters the Matrix to visit the Oracle, the prophet who predicted that the One would emerge. She suggests to Neo that he is not the One and warns that he will have to choose between Morpheus's life and his own. Before they can leave the Matrix, Agents and police ambush the group, tipped off by Cypher, a disgruntled crew member who has betrayed Morpheus in exchange for a comfortable life in the Matrix. Mouse is killed by the police before he can meet up with the rest of the group while Morpheus is captured fighting an agent to buy time for the rest to escape. Cypher exits the Matrix and murders several crew members as they lie defenseless. Before he can kill Neo and Trinity, Cypher is killed by Tank, a crewman whom he had only rendered unconscious.

The Agents interrogate Morpheus in an attempt to learn his access codes to the mainframe computer in Zion. Tank proposes killing Morpheus to prevent this, but Neo resolves to return to the Matrix to rescue him, as the Oracle prophesied; Trinity insists she accompany him. While rescuing Morpheus, Neo gains confidence in his abilities, performing feats comparable to the Agents. Morpheus and Trinity exit the Matrix, but Smith ambushes and seemingly kills Neo before he can escape. As a group of Sentinels attack the Nebuchadnezzar, Trinity professes her love for Neo and reveals that the Oracle told her she would fall in love with the One. He awakens with newfound abilities to perceive and control the Matrix. He defeats Smith and leaves the Matrix just as the ship's electromagnetic pulse disables the Sentinels.

Back in the Matrix, Neo makes a telephone call, promising the machines that he will show their prisoners "a world where anything is possible". He hangs up and flies away.

See also

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