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Film Review: The Matrix

"Unfortunately no one can be told what the MATRIX is. You have to see it for yourself." So advises the wise Laurence Fishburne, who plays Morpheus, in this excellent sci-fi thriller.

The world in which we live is not real. It is a virtual world controlled by Artificial Intelligence. The world's population wanders around oblivious to the fact that they are slaves to an unknown force. Only a small group of renegades, led by Fishburne, know the truth. They believe that Neo, played by Keanu Reeves, is The One. He will be able to bring about the downfall of this artificial world. In order to do this they must fight the Agents, a sinister group with shape-shifting powers.

I cannot talk about this film without mentioning the mind-blowing special effects. People can literally dodge bullets and walk on walls. All of these effects are used to the extreme in the many fight scenes throughout the film. The choreography is outstanding. It comes as no surprise to discover that the cast underwent four months of physical training before making this 

Reeves has always been criticised for his acting ability, or lack of, but in some respects he excels in this film. For the first half of the film he must look confused, for the second half he must look cool. Whatever about his acting ability, he can carry off confused and cool without breaking a sweat.

Fishburne (Boyz in the Hood, What's Love got to do With It) turns out the perfect choice to play the leader of the renegades. No matter what is thrown at them, he remains the calm, clear-thinking one. Whether he plays a villain or a good guy, Fishburne has a definite screen presence.

And watch out for newcomer Carrie-Anne Moss who plays Trinity. She has no trouble holding her own against the rest of the established and predominantly male cast.

This film was made by the Wachowski Brothers, whose last film, BOUND, was made over two years ago. Shot in Australia, the film was considered a bargain at $60 million. Considering it made almost half of that back ($28 million) in its opening weekend in the US, we can probably expect a MATRIX 2 in the next few years. I for one will be first in the queue. 

If you are one of the many who has been brainwashed into thinking that The Phantom Menace is going to be THE movie of the summer, then go and see the MATRIX. It might just change your mind.

The VERDICT? Excellent sci-fi thriller with mind-blowing effects. Highly recommended.

Deborah Condon

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