The Matrix

The Matrix ★★★★½

I'll be honest: I'm not really excited about the new Matrix movie. We tried Matrix sequels before, they sucked, and the two best actors from the original aren't even in the new one apparently. Pass. No Larry, no sale.

The original though? Gotta say, still absolutely fuckin slaps. Sure, you could say it rips off other stuff - The Invisibles, Ghost in the Shell, Blade, etc. - but it kind of feels like it HAS to, its reason for being is to channel those things into a culmination of all these threads of '90s counterculture and conspiracy fiction into a movie about the ULTIMATE conspiracy and the true end of history. Incidentally, it was a WILD vibe watching this on the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Not only do we not at all get this movie in a post-9/11 world - this came out a matter of weeks before Columbine, and I don't think we get it after that either. They would have fucking burned all the footage of the lobby scene.

A cinema landmark in every way. The look, the hook, the unbelievable, game-changing action directing - even the bits I used to find corny like the mountains of exposition and pop philosophizing, they pretty much all land beautifully. And the two standout performances are the ones given the task of presenting the two sides of the film's ideological conflict: Fishburne, capping off a miraculous decade of performances with one of the ultimate expressions of his calm, quiet authority (the other being Boyz in the Hood about ten years earlier), and Weaving, brilliantly taking the role of a theoretically emotionless AI and turning it into a cool, smug dickhead villain performance on par with Alan Rickman's Hans Gruber. Movies really don't age much better than this one.

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