The Reader on Ma(t)r(i)x

Catherine Driscoll catherine.driscoll at
Wed Apr 21 09:00:38 PDT 1999

Annalee writes:

>> Gotta see this damn thing. How does the movie riff on Marx, as the review
>> claims?
>There's a long speech where Morpheus describes how the ruling machines feed
>humans fantasies (i.e., ideology) in order to turn them into batteries (and
>then we get the Duracell product placement as he holds up a Duracell).
>But this is *not* a Marxist film . . . if anything, it's Foucauldian or
>post-structuralist. At the end, it turns out that the world will be fixed not
>through a change in material conditions, but merely by learning how to
>manipulate the Matrix, to change the shape of our false reality. So you can't
>really escape discourse--you can only emulate it in a slightly different
>register. I hated the ending, where Keanu becomes a Jesus figure,
>from the dead and flying away . . . bleah. Talk about re-mystification.

Perhaps on the mystification front. But -- in fact the project/revolutionary aim is revelation of the 'real' (material) conditions and that doesn't seem to post-structuralist or Foucauldian to me.

>But the special effects were great. And I did like the moments when everybody
>started talking about ideology (which, by the way, is dispelled with a red

The pill as waking up from Wonderland, yes, I liked that. The special effects were great but especially in conjunction with the art direction by the brilliant Hugh Bateup (who also did _Muriel's Wedding_ -- some very interesting parts of the editing and filming were done in Australia). I was impressed by the montage of references and direct retakes of film styles and famous film scenes, especially when they came from very different filmic genres. Eg. the scene taken from _High Noon_ is (as is that genre) framed and cut very differently to the manga and HK martial arts scenes it was cut into. I liked that, and the production of a flowing action film through those different genres _High Noon_ becomes _Enter the Dragon_ becomes _Terminator_ becomes manga. But the look, I loved the look. I find it hard to speak within the current exchanges over Kosovo because I am a pacifist, which appears to be an eminently ridiculable position in this context. And then I'm an Australian, which begins me somewhere else (don't you think, Angela?). So it was dislocating for me, if pleasantly so, to find bullets beautiful in this film. That was about the A.D. too but also about the use of speed, the manga frame look, and I was especially impressed by that.


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