The Matrix is a 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 the world is actually the Matrix, a simulated reality created by sentient machines in order to pacify, subdue and make use of the human population as an energy source by growing them and connecting them to the Matrix with cybernetic implants. It contains numerous references to the cyberpunk and hacker subcultures; philosophical and religious ideas, including Vedanta, messianism and Socratic, Cartesian, and Platonic idealism; and homages to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Hong Kong action movies and Japanese animation.
The Matrix film poster
Computer programmer Thomas Anderson leads a secret life as a hacker under the alias "Neo". He wishes to learn the answer to the question: "What is the Matrix?". Cryptic messages appearing on his computer monitor and an encounter with several sinister agents lead him to a group led by the mysterious Morpheus, a man who offers him the chance to learn the truth about the Matrix.
Neo accepts, and abruptly wakes up naked in a liquid-filled chamber, his body connected by wires to a vast mechanical tower covered with identical pods. The connections are severed and he is rescued by Morpheus and taken aboard his hovercraft, the Nebuchadnezzar. Neo's neglected physical body is restored, and Morpheus explains the situation. The year is approximately 2199, and humanity is fighting a war against intelligent machines created early in the 21st century. The sky is covered in thick clouds created by the humans in an attempt to cut off the machines' supply of solar power. The machines responded by using human beings as their energy source, growing countless people in pods and harvesting their energy. The world which Neo has inhabited since birth is the Matrix, an illusory simulated reality construct of the world of 1999, developed by the machines to keep the human population docile. Morpheus and his crew are a group of free humans who "unplug" others from the Matrix and recruit them to their resistance against the machines. Within the Matrix they are able to use their understanding of its nature to bend the laws of physics within the simulation, giving them superhuman abilities. Morpheus believes that Neo is "the One", a man prophesied to end the war through his limitless control over the Matrix.
Neo is trained to become a member of the group. A socket in the back of Neo's skull, formerly used to connect him to the Matrix, allows knowledge to be uploaded directly into his mind. He learns numerous martial arts disciplines, and demonstrates his kung fu skills by sparring with Morpheus in a virtual reality "Construct" environment similar to the Matrix, impressing the crew with his speed. Further training introduces Neo to the key dangers in the Matrix itself. Injuries suffered there are reflected in the real world; if he is killed in the Matrix, his physical body will also die. He is warned of the presence of Agents, powerful and fast sentient programs with the ability to take over the body of anyone still connected to the system, whose purpose is to seek out and eliminate any threats to the simulation. Yet Morpheus predicts that once Neo fully understands his own abilities as "the One", they will be no match for him.
The group enters the Matrix and takes Neo to the apartment of the Oracle, the woman who predicted the eventual emergence of the One. She implies that he is not the One, then adds that Morpheus believes in Neo so blindly that he will sacrifice his life to save him. Returning to the hacked telephone line which serves as a safe "exit" from the Matrix, the group is ambushed by Agents and police officers, and Morpheus is captured in an attempt to rescue Neo. The group was betrayed by one crew-member, Cypher, who preferred his old life in ignorance of the real world's hardships, and made a deal with the Agents to give them Morpheus in exchange for a permanent return to the Matrix. The betrayal leads to the deaths of all crew-members except Neo, Trinity, Tank and Morpheus, who is imprisoned in a government building within the Matrix. The Agents attempt to gain information from him regarding access codes to the mainframe of Zion, the humans’ last refuge deep underground. Neo and Trinity return to the Matrix and storm the building, rescuing their leader. Neo becomes more confident and familiar with manipulating the Matrix, ultimately dodging bullets fired at him by an Agent. Morpheus and Trinity use a subway station telephone to exit the Matrix, but before Neo can leave, he is ambushed by Agent Smith. He stands his ground and eventually defeats Smith, but flees when the Agent possesses another body.
As Neo runs through the city pursued by the Agents, "Sentinel" machines converge on the Nebuchadnezzar's position in the real world. Neo reaches an exit, but is shot dead by the waiting Agent Smith. Trinity whispers to Neo that she loves him and refuses to accept his death, then kisses him. Neo's heart beats again, and within the Matrix he stands up; the Agents shoot at him, but he raises his palm and stops their bullets in mid-air. Neo sees the Matrix as it really is, lines of streaming green code: he finally becomes "the One". Agent Smith makes a final attempt to physically attack him, but his punches are effortlessly blocked, and Neo destroys him. The other two Agents flee, and Neo returns to the real world just in time for the ship's EMP weapon to destroy the Sentinels, which already breached into the ship. A short epilogue shows Neo back in the Matrix, making a telephone call promising that he will demonstrate to the people imprisoned in the Matrix that "anything is possible". He hangs up the phone and flies into the sky above the city.
Left to right: Agents Brown, Smith, and Jones
Cast and characters
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