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Superficially, "The Matrix" echoes such cyberpunk milestones as "The Terminator," "Alien" and "Men in Black." But it's nevertheless thoroughly original, part techno-thriller, part kung fu movie, part hacker film.
Peppered throughout the film are terrific fight scenes, shootouts, chases and visual tricks. The acting, too, is solid: Fishburne can electrify dialogue with the best of them, Weaving draws out his lines like a doped-up congressional investigator; and Gloria Foster clang near steals the show as The Oracle, a visionary in the form of a grandma in a tenement apartment.
  • Kenneth Turan, Movie Review: The Matrix. An Apocalypse of Kinetic Joy, Los Angeles Times, 31 marzo 1999.[1]
A wildly cinematic futuristic thriller that is determined to overpower the imagination, "The Matrix" combines traditional science-fiction premises with spanking new visual technology in a way that almost defies description. Like it or not, this is one movie that words don't come close to approximating.
[...] is the unlikely spiritual love child of dark futurist Philip K. Dick and the snap and dazzle of Hong Kong filmmaking, with digital technology serving as the helpful midwife.
The Matrix, 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. As Keanu says: Whoa!
[...] it's a mishmash of Hong Kong sword-fighting ghost epics, Kafkaesque virtual reality fantasies, Cronenbergian visions of cybernetically enhanced flesh, Alice in Wonderland surrealism, post-apocalyptic urban grunge, Terminator-like battles of man vs. machine, and portentous lumpen-Zen posturing [...] The Matrix is actually one of the more lyrical sci-fi action thrillers ever made, in which space and time become love slaves to the directors' witty visual fancies.
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. [...] The movie is kinetic, atmospheric, visually stunning, and mind-bending. It toys with the boundaries between reality and fantasy in unique and interesting ways.
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.
[...] manages to work surprisingly well on a number of levels: as a dystopian sci-fi thriller, as a brilliant excuse for the film's lavish and hyperkinetic fight scenes, and as a pretty compelling call to the dead-above-the-eyeballs masses to unite and cast off their chains. The Wachowskis come out of comics, and their achingly stupid script for ASSASSINS personifies every dire stereotype about comic-book-trained writers. But this dazzling pop allegory is steeped in a dark, pulpy sensibility that transcends nostalgic pastiche and stands firmly on its own merits.
[...] like the Japanese manga and Hong Kong movies that form its closest counterparts, it's told pretty much through pictures and poses [...] It also involves transcendental themes and cultivates an atmosphere of paranoia based on the Buddhist fear that the world around us is nothing more than maya, illusion, distracting us from scary but primal truths. On the other hand, The Matrix is also an exercise in outrageous style over substance, featuring flowing trenchcoats, vinyl dresses, sunglasses at night and a truly freakish North American crossover performance by Aussie actor Hugo Weaving (Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) as Agent Smith, the Matrix's unstoppable defender of the faith. His uber-flat, computerized accent must be heard to be believed.
Action heroes speak volumes about the couch-potato audiences that they thrill. So it's understandable that The Matrix, a furious special-effects tornado directed by the imaginative brothers Andy and Larry Wachowski ("Bound"), couldn't care less about the spies, cowboys and Rambos of times gone by. Aiming their film squarely at a generation bred on comics and computers, the Wachowskis stylishly envision the ultimate in cyberescapism, creating a movie that captures the duality of life a la laptop.
[...] anyone bored with the notably pretentious plotting can keep busy toting up this film's debts to other futuristic science fiction. Neat tricks here echo "Terminator" and "Alien" films, "The X-Files", "Men in Black" and "Strange Days", with a strong whiff of "2001: A Space Odyssey" in the battle royale being waged between man and computer. Nonetheless whatever recycling the brothers do here is canny enough to give "The Matrix" a strong identity of its own.
[...] a group of freedom fighters want to bust loose, like rebels in a commercial for Macintosh computers. These individualists in sexy black-leather couture (one, played by former model Carrie-Anne Moss, ideal for marketing as a somber Matrix Barbie doll) report to a cryptic Obi-Wanish guru, Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne). And Morpheus--a paranoid but benevolent leader--has identified Neo as The One. The One what? Handsome cyber-Buddha, I guess, who, if he accepts his fate (and acquires the right wardrobe and training), can free humanity from the tyranny of the soulless Matrix.
It's like animation come to three-dimensional life [...]


  1. (EN) Citato in Movie Review: The Matrix. An Apocalypse of Kinetic Joy, calendarlive.com.
  2. (EN) Citato in Ma-tricks and treats, Members.Tripod.com