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Matrix, The

Reviewed By Katsat
Posted 05/19/99 07:54:03

"A seamless integration of role and actor"
5 stars (Awesome)

I have a couple friends who are aficionados of the latest indie films. They pooh-pooh The Matrix as a rip-off of the latest "Reality vs Illusion" trend in movies and denigrate Keanu Reeves as a wooden non-actor... All I can say is SO WHAT.

This movie WORKS, whatever its motives. It makes you actually think about the nature of existence and reality and destiny, and when you are caught in your own little matrix of your workaday humdrum life, that is an accomplishment to be applauded.

The Matrix rocks in a rollercoaster ride of "cool" special effects and martial arts and Prada chic. But beyond that, allow me to put in a word (okay, more than just one...) about Keanu Reeves. This movie would not have worked without him at its core in a seamless integration of role and actor. There is such a purity about him that goes beyond acting -- he betrays no ego, no affect, no pretension, no "technique," but exudes a simple, sublime BE-ing, a kind of Zen-like quality. Handsome men are a dime a dozen in Hollywood, but Keanu's handsomeness and indeed, his whole aura, derives from a purity that goes beyond sex or gender or even species. Bernardo Bertolucci, who was so taken by him that he cast him as the bodhisattva, once said of him, "He ees an "eenocent." His so-called woodenness is actually part of this purity that wordlessly draws people to him and makes him so believable as, to quote the movie, "The One." His one exclamation of "Whoa..." is as effective as any of Olivier's Shakespearean soliloquies. Keanu's critics are somehow immune to his aura. Thankfully, I am not.

The movie is not perfect. The violence was troubling after the Littleton massacre, especially with the black trenchcoats and rifle carnage. Much of it was unnecessary, and concentrating instead on man-to-man (or woman) combat would have actually improved the movie. In addition, the non-descript villain (is he famous in Australia?) reminded me of an impression once given of former president George Bush: "He looks like the guy in an alien invasion movie that gets killed first." In addition, the ending was confusing and unsatisfying and seemed an obvious ploy for a sequel.

But regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed The Matrix and seeing Keanu Reeves in a role he inhabits flawlessly.

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