Matrix is a 1999 science fiction-action film written
and directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski and starring
Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne
Moss, Joe Pantoliano, and Hugo Weaving. It was
first released in the USA on March 31, 1999, and
is the first entry in The Matrix series of films,
comics, video games, and animation.
The film describes a future in which reality perceived
by humans is actually the Matrix: a simulated
reality created by sentient machines in order
to pacify and subdue the human population while
their bodies' heat and electrical activity are
used as an energy source. Upon learning this,
computer programmer "Neo" is drawn into
a rebellion against the machines. The film contains
many references to the cyberpunk and hacker subcultures;
philosophical and religious ideas; and homages
to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Hong Kong
action cinema, Spaghetti Westerns, dystopian fiction
and Japanese animation. (Credit:
Reeves as Thomas A. Anderson/Neo: A computer programmer
who moonlights as the hacker Neo, later to realize
he is the One when trying to rescue Morpheus from
Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus: A human freed
from the Matrix, captain of the Nebuchadnezzar.
He is the one who finds Neo and taught him the
Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity: Freed by Morpheus,
crewman of the Nebuchadnezzar and Neo's romantic
Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith: A sentient "Agent"
program of the Matrix whose purpose is to destroy
Zion and stop humans from getting out of the Matrix;
but who, unlike his compatriots, has ambitions
to free himself from his duties.
Joe Pantoliano as Cypher: Another human freed
by Morpheus, who betrays Morpheus to the Agents
to ensure his return to the Matrix.
Julian Arahanga as Apoc: A freed human and crew
member on the Nebuchadnezzar. Killed by Cypher.
Anthony Ray Parker as Dozer: A "natural"
human born outside of the Matrix, and pilot of
Marcus Chong as Tank: the "operator"
of the Nebuchadnezzar, he is Dozer's brother,
and like him was born outside of the Matrix.
Matt Doran as Mouse: A freed human and programmer
on the Nebuchadnezzar.
Gloria Foster as the Oracle: Exiled sentient computer
program who still resides in the Matrix, helping
the freed humans with her foresight and wisdom.
Belinda McClory as Switch: A human freed by Morpheus
and crew member of the Nebuchadnezzar. Killed
Paul Goddard as Agent Brown: One of two sentient
"Agent" programs in the Matrix who work
with Agent Smith to destroy Zion and stop humans
escaping the system.
Robert Taylor as Agent Jones: Second sentient
"Agent" program working with Agent Smith.
Matrix was a co-production of Warner Bros. Studios
and Australian Village Roadshow Pictures, and
all but a few scenes were filmed at Fox Studios
in Sydney, Australia, and in the city itself.
Recognizable landmarks were not included in order
to maintain the setting of a generic American
city. Nevertheless, the Sydney Harbour Bridge,
Anzac bridge, AWA Tower, Martin Place and a Commonwealth
Bank branch are visible in some shots, as is signage
on buildings for the Sydney offices of Telstra
and IBM Corporation among others. Other clues
remain, such as the sign next to the elevator
in the famed lobby scene reading "do not
use lift during fire." (as opposed to elevator);
and the "Authorised Personnel Only"
sign (American spelling would be Authorized Personnel
Only) on the door of the rooftop of the building
where Morpheus was kept. In addition, in some
scenes, traffic flow on the left hand side can
be observed, which is another give-away for the
Subtle nods were included to Chicago, Illinois,
the home city of the directors, through a subtly
placed picture of the Chicago skyline, city maps,
and place names like the Adams Street Bridge,
Wells and Lake, Franklin and Erie, State and Balbo,
and Wabash and Lake.
The rooftop set that Trinity uses to escape from
Agent Jones early in the film was leftover from
the production of Dark City, which has been remarked
upon due to the thematic similarities of the films.
According to The Art of the Matrix, at least one
filmed scene and a variety of short pieces of
action were omitted from the final cut, and have
(to date) not been published.
The Wachowski Brothers were keen that all involved
understood the thematic background of the movie.
For example, the book used to conceal disks early
in the movie, Simulacra and Simulation, a 1981
work by the French philosopher Jean Baudrillard,
was required reading for most of the principal
cast and crew.
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