One of my all time favorite movies to watch and rewatch scenes of is The Matrix, directed by the Wachowski siblings. First released in 1999, the Matrix sees us in a science fiction setting where a man who goes by the name “Neo” discovers through a chance encounter with several people and events that the world that he knows is a simulation.
What is the Matrix really? That question gets explored quiet a bit throughout this first film, as well as its sequels, with a 4th film on its way in the future. The first instance of the Matrix being explained is exactly what this scene I will be reviewing talks about.
This scene encompasses Morpheus first showing Neo what the Matrix truly is as well as what the world truly is and isn’t. In just one 4 minute scene, we get to see just about everything that the film has built up to in the prologue, as well as a sneak preview of what the film will potentially get into in the epilogue, all of which gets fulfilled.
This scene serves as exposition both for Neo and the audience. However, what makes this scene special is that it works on so many levels as a scene in a film and as a scene in the Matrix franchise as a whole.
First we’ll go over how it works from that first thing I mentioned, exposition. Usually, exposition encompasses the film showing and or telling its audience what subject matter or theme the film is building upon. In this scene, this is explained through Morpheus and Neo’s dialogue, which is written in a way that feels like an organic conversation as opposed to two people reading a teleprompter telling you the obvious.
Second, let’s look at all of the special effects and imagery that are at play in this scene. From the lounge like TV and chairs that Morpheus spawns to the dreary, apocalyptic nature of the real world, everything in this scene is there for a purpose. That purpose is to invoke certain emotions and thoughts to the viewer. How did the world become this way? Why is Neo being told this? What will they do from here? All of those questions are in the back of the audience’s mind and are also on Neo’s mind as he’s in denial of what he’s being told. The audio also is a major plus to this. Don Davis’ score for the film is already amazingly good, but this scene specifically is an amazing example of a dynamic, impactful, and awesome score. Each musical note matches what’s going on in the scene, from the mysterious, dreary parts, to there being no music at all when Neo first enters. Everything is done for a reason.
Thirdly, to go along with the special effects and imagery, the camera angles. All of the angles are done masterfully, adding to the atmosphere of the scene and Morpheus’ explanation. The way objects appear in front of Morpheus and Neo at and give time and the way the scene is edited are all exuberantly displayed. I especially love the zoom in to the TV when it cuts to the real world, followed by a pan down towards the exact spot where Morpheus and Neo are seated. A wonderful touch.
I highly recommend watching this scene, or better yet, watch through the entire movie to see just how amazing it truly is. And if you’ve never watched it, I definitely recommend it, especially with the aforementioned 4th movie on its way. Thanks for reading up to this point and I hope you enjoyed. Catch you later.