Matrix (film)

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German title matrix
Original title The Matrix
Country of production United States , Australia
original language English
Publishing year 1999
length 136 minutes
Age rating FSK 16
Director The Wachowskis
script The Wachowskis
production Joel Silver
music Don Davis
camera Bill Pope
cut Zach Staenberg

Successor  →
Matrix Reloaded

The Matrix (English original title: The Matrix ) is a science fiction film from 1999 . Directed by the Wachowskis , who also wrote the script and at the time of publication still appeared under the name "The Wachowski Brothers". The main roles were played by Keanu Reeves , Laurence Fishburne , Carrie-Anne Moss and Hugo Weaving . In May 2003 the continuation with Matrix Reloaded followed and in November 2003 the third part Matrix Revolutions .


The initial message to Neo

The film begins with police officers trying to arrest a young woman. However, she can  escape through seemingly supernatural forces - extremely fast combat movements . As she escapes, she is followed by "agents" in gray suits who work with the police and who have similar skills. The woman escapes into a phone booth, which a moment later is crushed by an agent with a truck. However, it cannot be found in the rubble.

The young hacker Neo receives a mysterious message on his computer that he should “follow the white rabbit” (a quote from Alice in Wonderland ). At that moment, Choi, a friend of Neo's, knocks on the door to buy a disk from him. Choi is on his way to a disco with a group and asks Neo to join them. Neo initially refuses, until he realizes that one of the women has a tattoo in the form of a white rabbit.

In a disco, Neo meets the woman from the opening credits, who reveals herself to be Trinity, a hacker wanted by the police. She warns him of impending danger. The next morning, while working as a software developer, Neo is called by a mysterious protagonist named Morpheus, while the agents appear at Neo's workplace and look for him. Morpheus shows him an escape route over the outer facade of the high-rise office building. The way is too dangerous for Neo; he will be arrested. An agent, Mr. Smith, interrogates Neo and accuses him of numerous cyber crimes . Neo receives an offer of amnesty if he delivers the agent Morpheus, who is a dangerous terrorist . When Neo refuses, a spider-shaped device is implanted in his stomach in a surreal scene. The next moment he wakes up from a nightmare at home.

Neo meets again with Trinity, who reveals herself to be an ally of Morpheus. On the drive to Morpheus, she removes the spider-shaped device from Neo's body, which turns out to be an eavesdropping bug and was implanted in him for position determination and surveillance. Morpheus explains to Neo that the world in which he believes he lives is just a simulation , he is just a captive slave in this computer-generated dream world, the matrix , and offers him liberation from it. He gives him the choice between returning to his previous life by taking a blue pill or learning the truth about the matrix by taking a red pill. Neo decides on the red pill and after a short procedure he wakes up in reality: his real body is in a kind of incubator in a huge human breeding facility. He is flushed out of the incubator and then rescued by a hovercraft under the command of Morpheus. While Neo is in a coma , his stunted body is slowly regenerated.

After a while, Morpheus tells him the background to the current situation: a long time ago, probably at the beginning of the 21st century, mankind lost a war against self-created machines with artificial intelligence . Towards the end of the war, people darkened the sky to prevent the machines from generating solar energy and thus to switch them off. However, the machines responded by using human bodies to generate energy, and developed the computer simulation of the matrix to keep the unconscious people under control. These are fed, among other things, with the dissolved corpses of the deceased. The Agents in the Matrix are protection programs against human revolutionaries like Morpheus and Trinity who hack their way into the Matrix through phone lines to set people free. This is dangerous because if you think you are dying in the matrix, you are actually dying. According to Morpheus, Neo is the "chosen one" who, according to the ominous oracle, will conquer the Matrix.

Neo is trained on board the ship, the Nebuchadnezzar , for combat in the virtual reality of the Matrix. For this purpose, he is taught various skills and martial arts with the help of memory modules . Morpheus teaches him that in the illusory world of the matrix physical laws can be bent or even broken by pure willpower. When Neo is brought to the oracle in the matrix by Morpheus some time later, he is told that Neo is not the chosen one, but that Morpheus will one day sacrifice himself for him in his conviction. Furthermore, the oracle adds that Neo carries “the gift”, but is still waiting for something like his next life.

On the way back from the oracle, Morpheus is captured in the Matrix by the betrayal of one of his crew members (Cypher) by Agent Smith and three members of the crew are killed by the traitor before he dies himself. While the agents are torturing Morpheus in order to gain possession of the secret access code for the last free city of mankind, Zion , Neo and Trinity go back to the matrix and try to free themselves into the building where Morpheus is being held. Meanwhile, Smith has sent the other agents out of the interrogation room and removed his headphones, avoiding Trinity and Neo's intrusion. Smith reveals to Morpheus that after the annihilation of the rest of humanity, he hopes to be no longer needed and thus to escape the matrix, which he is tired of.

After the successful attempt at liberation, Morpheus and Trinity escape from the Matrix, but Neo is prevented from escaping by Mr. Smith. Meanwhile, robots, so-called guards, attack the Nebuchadnezzar . Using an EMP as the only possible remedy would also kill Neo as it is still connected to the Matrix. So they decide to wait until Neo makes it back while the robots continue to advance into the ship. After a chase and an uphill battle, Neo is shot dead by Agent Smith. However, Trinity is convinced that Neo is alive because of a prophecy from the Oracle, since it was revealed to her that she would fall in love with the Chosen One. She gives Neo's body a kiss on board the Nebuchadnezzar : “The oracle told me that the man I love is the chosen one. So you can't possibly be dead! ”Neo wakes up with new abilities. He can now see the code of the matrix clearly and manipulate it freely with his thoughts. For example, he can stop pistol bullets from flying with his thoughts by just raising his hand. After a short unequal fight in which Neo dominates his opponent Agent Smith sovereignly, he penetrates his body and destroys him from the inside. It finally returns just in time for the EMP to be operated safely and the guards destroyed.

Towards the end of the film, Neo is in the Matrix and declares that he wants to free the people trapped in the Matrix before he takes to the skies like Superman .

Special effects

The film caused a sensation with elaborately designed fight scenes in the style of Kung Fu films , which were presented in an innovative way in connection with digital effect techniques .

The bullet-time effect made famous by the film - a special method of slow motion photography - was realized in Matrix using 122 single-lens reflex and 2 film cameras. The cameras were screwed onto rails around a scene and triggered in a synchronized manner. This scene can be slowed down, stopped or played backwards, while tracking shots in this seemingly time-slowed world is possible.

The motion capture process was also used in Matrix. Here, human movements are recorded by sensor chips, stored by the computer and then transferred to artificially created human models in the computer, which are then digitally copied into the conventionally recorded film material.

For scenes playing in the matrix, a green color filter was used, for scenes playing in reality a blue color filter , which colors the respective scenes lightly accordingly.


The German synchronization was for a dialogue book by Alexander lion and the dialogue director of Clemens Frohman on behalf of RC production .

role actor German speaker
Thomas A. "Neo" Anderson Keanu Reeves Benjamin Völz
Morpheus Laurence Fishburne Tom Vogt
Trinity Carrie-Anne Moss Martina Treger
Agent Smith Hugo Weaving Hans-Jürgen Wolf
Cypher / Mr. Reagan Joe Pantoliano Ilya Richter
tank Marcus Chong Dietmar miracle
Apoc Julian Arahanga Daniel White
Mouse Matt Doran Asad Black
Switch Belinda McClory Anja Godenschweger
Dozer Ray Anthony Parker Bernd Schramm
Agent Brown Paul Goddard Erich Rauker
Agent Jones Robert Taylor Uwe Jellinek
oracle Gloria Foster Hannelore Fabry
Rhineheart David Aston Till Hagen
Choi Marc Gray David Nathan
Boy with spoon Rowan Witt Benjamin Meierhofer


The filming took place from March 14th to September 1st, 1998 in Sydney . Existing backdrops from the 1998 film Dark City were used, the plot of which has certain similarities to Matrix. For example, the rooftops Trinity walks over at the beginning are the same ones John Murdoch walks over in Dark City . Originally, Will Smith was slated for the role of Neo. Smith canceled because he was initially not convinced of the film concept and did not trust the role himself. In a 2004 interview, he admitted that he was happy about it, as he only understood the concept of the film later and Keanu Reeves did a very good job in the film.

Production costs were estimated at around $ 63 million. It was released in theaters in the United States on March 31, 1999 and in Germany on June 17, 1999. The film grossed around 463 million US dollars in cinemas worldwide, including around 171 million in the United States.

The film was first shown on German free TV on April 18, 2003 on RTL .

Influences and design features

The green character cascades of the matrix code consist of mirrored characters, Indian numerals and Japanese characters .

What is striking is the philosophical-theological content that goes beyond the horizon of usual action films, with elements and borrowings from epistemology (see e.g. Plato's allegory of the cave ), Gnosticism , Zen Buddhism, Hinduism ( Maya veil ) and the analogy of the plot to the new and Old Testament as well as counterculture . Neo's hiding place for software in his apartment is the book Simulacres et Simulation by the French media philosopher Jean Baudrillard , which examines the relationship between reality, symbols and society. In the oracle's apartment there is a sign above the door with the Latin inscription Temet Nosce , which means “know yourself” in German, a maxim from Greek philosophy ( Gnothi seauton ).

Some of the motifs in the film can be traced back to a number of influences. The film shows clear references to the basic idea of ​​the 1964 novel Simulacron-3 by Daniel F. Galouye . The book was filmed twice: in 1973 by Rainer Werner Fassbinder as a two-part television film under the title Welt am Draht and in 1999 by Josef Rusnak under the title The 13th Floor - Are you what you think? .

The idea of ​​an experience machine was philosophically raised by Robert Nozick in his 1974 book Anarchy, State, and Utopia .

At a science fiction convention in Metz in 1977 , Philip K. Dick spoke about how “we all live in a computer-programmed reality, and the only clue we have about it is when a variable is changing and a change in ours Reality happens. We would have the overwhelming impression of reliving the present - déjà-vu . "

In 1978 Adam Wisniewski-Snerg's 1978 work The Gospel according to Lump used the motif of an acting protagonist in a world that corresponds to a secret script in which only the latter recognizes that reality is only faked - while everyone else quietly plays their part . In many cases, among others, Hilary Putnam (in Reason, Truth, and History , 1981) and other philosophers in the thought experiment - brains in the tank  - have philosophized about whether one can be aware of being a brain in the tank that is with the corresponding information is fed, or whether the brain in the tank cannot recognize this connection.

At the end of the 1980s, the German novel series Perry Rhodan described how the inhabitants of the earth were forcibly connected through chips with an artificial, but perceived reality (Simusense) .

At the beginning of August 2020, Lilly Wachowski declared that the Matrix was a trans allegory . Especially the shape of the switch signals the transgender nature of the Wachowskis. In the 1990s, however, the time was not yet ripe to show that openly.

Film music

The score was composed by Don Davis and was released in May 1999 as The Matrix (Original Motion Picture Score) under the label Varèse Sarabande.

Titles used in the film:

Interpreter title
Massive attack Dissolved Girl *
Rob zombie Dragula (Hot Rod Herman Mix) *
Lunatic Calm Leave You Far Behind (Lunatics Roller Coaster Mix) *
The Prodigy Mindfields *
Meat Beat Manifesto Prime Audio Soup *
Rob D Clubbed to Death (Kurayamino Mix) *
Django Reinhardt Minor swing
Duke Ellington I'm beginning to see the light
Propeller heads Spybreak! *
Rage Against the Machine Wake up*
Marilyn Manson Rock Is Dead *

The soundtrack was released on April 19, 1999, which was produced by WMG . In addition to the songs marked with an asterisk (*) in the list above, the soundtrack also contains the songs Look to Your Orb for the Warning by Monster Magnet , My Own Summer by the Deftones , Ultrasonic Sound by Hive, Du hast by Rammstein and Dragula by Rob Zombie .



source rating
Rotten tomatoes

Many critics rated the film positively; In 2003, Andreas Platthaus summed up in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that he had become a "legend" "through the participation of all those interpreters who saw their crude future, social, scientific or even just science fiction models subjected to a test" and would have seen each other confirmed. The media scientist Tilman Baumgärtel wrote on Spiegel Online , for example, that “the opulent images” should “apparently kill the audience”: The “postmodern melange” alludes to the thoughts of postmodern philosophy, Nietzsche and Taoism and cites cyberpunk films like Blade Runner , Total Recall and Brazil , but also classics like Cocteau's “ Orphée ”. These “disparate” elements would be combined into a film “that was entertaining and at the same time intellectually challenging”.

Matrix brought philosophy into the multiplexes, ” summarizes Katja Nicodemus .

The Lexicon of International Films wrote: “Elaborately designed science fiction film, which articulates the current distrust of the visible world and especially the new computer technologies, making use of numerous mythological and religious allusions. The apocalyptic drama, staged almost without colors and in bare rooms, also relies on perfect fight scenes in which the traditional kung fu cinema is effectively exaggerated with the possibilities of digital technology. "

The critic Steven Jay Schneider writes that this film manages to "effectively combine popular philosophical themes with masterfully choreographed action sequences and special effects." This film distinguishes its "epic dimensions, the apocalyptic undertones and the breathtaking visual elements" from other science fiction -Productions. He judges that one of the most interesting aspects of the film is the attempt to strike a balancing act between the "progressive message of nonconformity and self-actualization on the one hand and the imperatives of the conservative Hollywood studio system on the other." Only because Neo's virtual world "has its advantages" and planet earth is a "bleak, inhospitable 'desert of reality" ", one does not understand what the resistance" actually hope for from their struggles. "But that does not prevent the viewer from enjoying the film.


Adaptations and parodies

Various films have adopted essential elements from the Matrix film to tell their own story. In addition to many others (such as Matrix XP), this includes the multiple award-winning Flash animation The Meatrix . Individual scenes and stylistic elements were also parodied, for example in some episodes of the Simpsons and Futurama . For example, the scene in which Neo and Trinity break into the skyscraper in which Morpheus is being held by the agents is recreated in the video game Conker's Bad Fur Day . The scene on the roof of the skyscraper in which one of the agents shoots Neo and he bends back to the floor while the bullets pass over him in slow motion (see also Bullet Time ) is often parodied in films or through pictures, for example in the films Scary Movie , Shrek , Der WiXXer , Kung Pow: Enter the Fist and I'm always there for you! as well as in some computer games. There is a parody (produced for the MTV Movie Awards) that is on the bonus DVD of the second part. In the video game Grand Theft Auto V , three models of the fictional car manufacturer Übermacht, based on BMW , were named after personalities and locations from the film.

Sequels and computer games

After the success of Matrix , the sequels Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions were released in theaters in 2003 . In addition, there were nine short anime films called Animatrix , which were shown on the Internet and in front of other movies and ultimately all released on DVD. At about the same time as the second part, the computer game Enter the Matrix was also released for PC , PlayStation 2 , Xbox and GameCube . On December 7, 2004, "The Ultimate Matrix Collection" was released. It contains all three films, the Animatrix DVD and an additional six DVDs with background information. The set, consisting of ten DVDs, is available in the standard edition and in the special edition (plastic box including a neo-bust). In the 1st quarter of 2005, the online computer game The Matrix Online was published, whose action, which can be influenced by the player, starts where Matrix Revolutions leaves off. On November 15, 2005, the third computer game The Matrix: Path of Neo was published. The developer was Shiny Entertainment, who was also responsible for Enter the Matrix. In March 2017, it was announced that the Warner Bros. studio was rebooting the Matrix series at an early stage of development. In August 2019 it was finally announced that the shooting of a fourth part of the Matrix series should start in early 2020. While leading actors Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss will re -enact their roles, Lana Wachowski will direct. In October 2019 it was confirmed that Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Neil Patrick Harris will play in Matrix 4 .


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Web links

Commons : Matrix  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikiquote: Matrix  - Quotes

Individual evidence

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  10. The Animatrix and Anime's Burgeoing Influence. ( Memento of October 20, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) In: (English).
  11. " Lilly Wachowski: 'Matrix' is a trans-allegory "
  12. BBC: " The Matrix is ​​a 'trans metaphor', Lilly Wachowski says "
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  19. DZ No. 22/2003, p. 34.
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