A revolutionary and radical cornerstone of Lana and Lilly Wachowski’s awe-inspiring cyberpunk trilogy.
AAfter 22, Lana Wachowski returns to The Matrix – a simulation program designed to trick humans while their bodies are harvested in amniotic vats for energy. In 1999, Lana and her sister, Lilly, created a cinematic masterpiece that has since evolved into a branch of philosophy in its own right. From right-wing conspirators to scholars of trans theory, the Wachowski’s grip on The Matrix as a concept has largely evaporated.
Much has changed for Lana and Lilly over the past two decades. After completing the Matrix trilogy, they co-directed several ever-expanding cinematic universes, from Speed Racer to Jupiter Ascending, which felt like an author’s sandbox for the pair. While they have their fans, most of these later ventures failed at the box office and made a Wachowski project a shaky investment. Will their ideas fly away and land safely, or fall flat on the sidewalk?
The gender transition process the two Wachowskis underwent during this period prompted a reassessment of their early work. But with The Matrix, it’s all about perspective – blue pill thinkers may be just getting started, but for those of us who took the red pill long before it was cool, the trans character of these films has always been a given. It has always been about seeing beyond the binary and unlocking the endless possibilities offered in this space.
This is where the fourth film, The Matrix Resurrections begins. We live in a blue pill society. Even Neo knocks down his bottle blockers, avoiding the trauma of diving into the rabbit hole and, like Alice, accepting that it was just a dream. Returning to his dead name, Neo saw the events of the first three films as flashbacks, receiving cognitive behavioral therapy from his analyst, played by Neil Patrick Harris.
Like many artists, Neo projected these elusive traumas into a video game called The Matrix, something akin to the MMORPG the Wachowskis created after the movies to continue Sion’s story. It’s the game that made a name for itself and everyone knows it for, and after making three installments, he’s trying to develop an original game called “Binary” that will take his ideas in a new direction.
These conversations at the start of the film simmer with conscious irony. Neo has an encounter with Smith, a nemesis of Hugo Weaving’s version of the original films, now played menacingly by Jonathan Groff. He tells Neo that Warner Bros. wants him to return to The Matrix, to develop what the fans want, which has led to a montage of developer meetings poking fun at everything from bullet time to guns and philosophical allusions to the psychedelic soundtrack from ‘White Rabbit’ by Jefferson Airplane.
Coming from any other filmmaker, that might cringe. But the Wachowskis are such private individuals, who rarely make public comments about their personal lives or their interpretations of their films, that it feels like a long, repressed last word. It’s no surprise that Lilly didn’t want to be a part of this new movie – she left it in the past, and if Neo’s experience is deliberately reminiscent of what the Wachowskis went through, then it needs to be. clearly a lot of personal strength to unearth their past in this way.
The Matrix Resurrections is a heartbreaking description of the damage binary thinking can do, especially on trans * people. But it is also a magnificently optimistic film which constantly affirms the reality of the non-binarity, and the improvement in the quality of life that the break with our social chains can have. No character is the same in the real world and in the Matrix – every aspect of presenting the genre, like hairstyle and clothing, is different for everyone, a form of switching explored much more explicitly now than it would have. could be at the turn of the century.
That’s not to say Blue Pill thinkers won’t have a good time with The Matrix Resurrections. It’s breathtaking to watch, a neon infused matte finish designed by cinematographers Daniele Massaccesi and John Toll that shows the enhanced action choreography and special effects in exciting new ways. And while Hugo Weaving and Laurence Fishburne don’t reprise their roles as Smith and Morpheus (there are a hundred canonical reasons why there’s no space to delve into here), it’s a nostalgic pleasure to see Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss kicking over Sentinel’s butt.
But this is not a movie for them, especially since they like to think that the world was created for their benefit. Unlike the mind-boggling fan service of reboots like Star Wars or Ghostbusters, no reference is made in The Matrix Resurrections without an essential narrative focus. It is such a rich and original tapestry of global expansion that it will undoubtedly be analyzed as intensely as the original films by scholars for years to come. Once the premise is established and Lana has had some self-referential fun, buckle up your seat belts for something completely different.
Reeves and Moss are gorgeous at resurrecting Neo and Trinity, and they blend in perfectly with Lana Wachowski’s mature filmmaking style. It’s wonderful to see the influence of his interim projects on this one – David Mitchell, who wrote the novel Cloud Atlas and collaborated on the writing of the groundbreaking Netflix series Wachowski Sense8, helped with the screenplay with Aleksandar Hamon . And their Cloud Atlas co-director and songwriter Tom Tykwer brings a lavish update to Don Davis’ score that heightens the film’s atmosphere with every turn.
Collaboration is an essential part of filming The Wachowskis, and while Lilly isn’t present here, it’s not Lana’s only effort. There is a unique warmth that permeates the screen with love for what everyone else does, and their deep personal investment in this project is rarely felt while watching a blockbuster. This includes a handful of Sense8 alumni, as well as Groff and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II bringing refreshing versions of their classic characters.
The Wachowskis love to celebrate newcomers, and Jessica Henwick looks sublime as Captain Bugs. Having had a number of small roles in other franchises, her starring role here makes The Matrix feel fresh and alive. The centering of the female and non-binary characters in the film is special and inspires so much hope for the future of cinema. As with all of her work, what Lana Wachowski has achieved in The Matrix Resurrections is truly revolutionary.
Reference of the Article-post – lwlies