Keanu Reeves in "The Matrix"
The Matrix (1999)
The matrix of the title is an illusion-a virtual reality that a malignant artificial intelligence has tricked the human race into believing is real. Having defeated humans for control of the planet, you see, machines keep us occupied and subdued by leading us to believe we are living in a world that doesn't exist while they keep us around solely to harvest the electrical impulses that run through our bodies' neurological networks.
Human beings have become, in short, the coppertops of the post-digital era, the energy that powers the powers-that-be.
Enter a fearless band of revolutionaries who live outside the matrix and who, with the assistance of some imaginative and rather amusing technology, periodically enter it. "Men in Black"-style cops try to kill them, asserting that the renegades are hackers who are spreading a dangerous virus that threatens the computer systems that support life on earth.
The problem with "The Matrix" is that the enormously talented Wachowski brothers, who wrote and directed it, think their playful premise has metaphysical implications.
Rated R for violence and for two darkly comic moments of gore. 2 hours, 16 minutes.
- Leonard Schwarz