What is reality? How do we perceive it? Through our senses, our consciousness? Or something more?
Neo has always felt that something wasn’t right in his life. He could never place it, nor understand it. So he turns to something he can understand- computers. Neo is obsessed with them his apartment is filled with monitors and he tinkers and tinkers… troubled by something he cannot know.
Until that is, one day his computer tells him to follow something. And he does. This following leads him to a man named Morpheus. He gives Neo a choice, to go home or to come with him and learn the truth of life. Neo chooses the latter, and the Matrix is revealed.
Decades ago, Machines fought humanity. And the Machines one. Now they are using humans as enslaved batteries in the real world, while playing an incredibly realistic program into each persons’s consciousness. That is called the Matrix. Only “the One” can free humanity from the machines. And Morpheus believes Neo just might be that person.
Things I Liked
All of the characters in the real world stand up against the machines have committed themselves, no matter the cost, to freeing humanity and destroying the beings who control earth. With one remaining human city, these chances are growing slim. They sacrifice much for this cause, and that is what the movie truly is about. They give up comfort and safety to free people who don’t even know they need freeing.
The Matrix has been hailed as having immense amounts of Christian symbolism in the film, and it truly does. Neo is portrayed as the Christ figure, and acts as such. He has no individualistic goals, nor any anterior motives. He is saved at one point, through love. Similar to God’s love for the son. There is a woman named trinity, who works with Morpheus and Neo. Together they each bring a characteristic of the Real Trinity. Morpheus is a father figure. Neo is the sacrificial figure. Trinity is the the heart of the group. Many other allegorical references are made throughout the film, each reflecting in some way the Christian faith- even though no mention of God, prayers, or Jesus is used appropriately in context.
Things I Didn’t Like
The Matrix is rated “R” for violence mainly. You can die in the Matrix if you believe you are dead. Since the Matrix is so realistic, most everyone dies if they are fatally wounded in the program. Guns account for large amounts of these deaths. People are machine gunned down, shot in the back, shot in the head, shot in the leg… you get the point. In one slow motion scene, Neo dispatches a room full of guards. Blood spray is present, but no gore is shown.
Other feats of violence include a man being blasted with a laser cannon. Another takes a knife to the head. People are beat up with clubs and punches, bloodying their mouths and face. When one dies in the matrix, we see the people cough up lots of blood in the real world.
Trinity kisses Neo a few times, and wears very tight fitting clothes. A computer generated “woman in red” is made to distract Neo, and he is due to the way the woman is dressed. One guy tells Neo he can “hook him up” with the program later if he wanted. Neo declines. When one is woken from the Matrix, that person is naked, nothing inappropriate is shown, but the fact the person is nude is clear.
The S- word is the one of choice in this film. It is used about a dozen times. The Lords name is also taken in vain fairly constantly.
There are disturbing images in the film. This includes a scene where a mechanical bug is inserted into a human. Another time a person’s mouth is glued together. We see people in capsules hooked to dozens of cables and wires. It is very eerie and dark.
I’m trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it. ~Morpheus~
If I had to classify this film, it would definitely be a mental thriller. The movie is not really about the story, but about the mind. It forces you to think “what if?” and question reality as you know it. It shows the futility of our senses and how sometimes, we have to rely on something greater. That something being Faith. Neo never understands fully why he must do things, he just does them because he knows that’s what he is supposed to do. He acts not on his senses, but his Faith. He always knew there was something more real than what he was living in the Matrix, and that is what the movie asks you.
“Is there something more than what you are experiencing now?” It plants this seed of doubt for the viewer who doesn’t have an eternal perspective. The Matrix could quite possibly be the allegory for our lives, and challenges us to think about what is more real? For Christians, the answer is easy, we are living here for heaven. For one not of the Faith however, that question is not so easily answered.
That is just one of the many questions this movie asks. It is one of the most conversationally friendly of all the films I’ve watched, because it poses challenges which you must answer for yourself- based on your interpretation of reality. This makes The Matrix a powerful tool when conversing with others about the faith.
Now, I will grant you in a heartbeat that the violence is brutal and a bit bloody. That there is some sensuality and profanity no one wants to see or hear. You’ll have to decide wether those things outweigh the good or are overpowered by the message of questions. For me, it was the latter. I wasn’t reflecting on the violence at the end of this film, but rather the questions about a man’s existence it asked. And those are questions definitely worth pondering.