film: The Matrix trilogy

I’m not watching these three films entirely for pleasure. They’re actually part of a homework assignment. I was turned off by the first one way back when it was new because I thought it was so gross that I had to keep my eyes half closed to watch it. This time I knew when to shut my eyes. I’ve always heard it was heavily based in religion, and like the DaVinci Code, the films instantly were thus popularly regarded as scholarship or life-changing parable. They’re action movies. Period. They’re one excuse after another to play Rob Zombie or show nipples or make empty sermons, but mostly, they’re fightin’ movies. It’s hard to find anything to say about them…but I have.

About 1:40 through The Matrix Reloaded something funny happens. Something like four scenes begin taking place at once, but the four scenes share some characters, occur at different or the same moments, and different places. I know some people who have difficulty compartmentalizing multitudes, but it is how I operate, to the point that the first thing this reminded me of was how I often read poetry, which is not linearly, but in waves, I read down the poem, and then I read back up, sweep back down, and then back up a bit further, and it feels like a three-dimensional cycle to me. In bookstores and in tables of contents I often become confused because I create titles from multiple rows of books or text, titles that aren’t there, titles that sound wonderful and that I’d love to read, and then turn out not to exist at all. Anyway, I find some comfort in this segment of the film, I feel engaged, and also able to breathe easily because of the freedom in movement it has, it isn’t constraining.

And this, I think may be the reasoning behind it. The film spends much time emphasizing transcending time and space, the character Neo being the one best able to do this, to operate outside ‘the matrix’ while engaging within it. And as an audience, this section of the film gives us precisely that experience, the undeniable knowledge that we’re outside the film, in the theatre, watching it, and watching four scenes at once, we ourselves able to transcend the film world’s time and space, not only when we go home, of course, but also in the theatre itself, while we also allow that ‘voluntary suspension of disbelief’ to occur. Great job! Now I don’t have to write anything else about the fucking Matrix ever again. Yay!

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