movie film review | chris tookey


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  Matrix Review
Tookey's Rating
5 /10
Average Rating
7.50 /10
Neo: Keanu Reeves , Morpheus: Laurence Fishburne, Trinity: Carrie-Anne Moss
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Directed by: Larry Wachowski, Andy Wachowski
Written by: Larry Wachowski, Andy Wachowski

Released: 1999
Origin: US
Colour: C
Length: 135

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Larry and Andy Wachowski, the hotshot brothers writing and directing team, clearly set out to astonish with this one, and they certainly do. It's astonishing that so much money, talent, technical expertise and visual imagination can be put in the service of something so stupid. Folly on such a monumental scale is almost exhilarating. So this is what more than 100 years of cinema history has come to: special effects with no movie... We know that Reeves is puzzled about which reality he currently occupies because he squinches up his eyebrows. Laurence Fishburne has the chore, as a mysterious cyberworld overlord, of making absolute nonsense sound like he believes it. He does this by e-nun-ci-a-ting every syllable... Australian actor Hugo Weaving (The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) is a Men in Black-style special agent. His mannered performance is briefly fun until it becomes apparent that's all there is and he intends to go on and on with it.

(Bob Graham, San Francisco Chronicle)

Silly and dense.

(Jay Carr, Boston Globe)

A blast of Holly-Kong glitz that never approaches the stylistic cohesiveness of, say, John Woo's Face/Off or the charisma of that film's propulsive star John Travolta.

(Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly)

Keanu Reeves (uh-oh, they gave him a movie again) sleepwalks his way through a nominally futuristic adventure distinguished only by all the sizzling special-effects that money can buy. The acting is as wooden as it comes, with poor, lost Keanu able to express little more than befuddlement and fear... Too bad the Wachowskis couldn't plug all that hardware into a story able to sustain anyone's interest past the first 30 minutes. Is it too late to take the other pill?

(Philip Booth, Orlando Weekly)

I register its success, but donít rejoice over it. What we are seeing here is the death of one kind of cinema and the birth of another, One thatís getting closer and closer to the computer games that people play at homes to sharpen their reflexes, dazzle their eyes, relax their minds, coarsen their sensibilities, deadenb their intelligence and suspend their moral judgments. The Matrix doesnít succeed on any other level than this... High tech meets low IQ: Hollywood in its cyberheaven.

(Alexander Walker, Evening Standard)

I have head grumblings from some of the squarer critics that the film sacrifices everything to special effects and makes absolutely no sense. The only problem with the film that I could see, on the other hand, was that however much it sacrificed to special effects, it never quite sacrificed enough, and that its noble aspirations towards the higher realms of nonsense were marred by some rather retrograde efforts at sense. The worst offender in this regard is Fishburne, whose main job is to stand around intoning sub-Cartesianism in a strange zoned-out voice, with the result that large stretches of this resemble one of those doped-out student parties where someone spends half the night trying to convince you that you are, in fact, a figment of his imagination.

(Tom Shone, Sunday Times)

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