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

G*rd*n gcf at
Thu Apr 22 10:20:33 PDT 1999

> > Peter Kilander wrote:
> >
> > >Here's the Chicago Reader, the free weekly here, on the movie The Matrix:
> > >

Doug Henwood wrote:
> > Gotta see this damn thing. How does the movie riff on Marx, as the review
> > claims?

Annalee Newitz:
> 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.

Baudrillardian, I'd say. The world is a simulation, maybe many levels of simulation. The basic model is that of a video game.

> 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, ressurrected
> from the dead and flying away . . . bleah. Talk about re-mystification.
> 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
> pill).

I thought the special effects became tedious after awhile, hurled at the audience to compensate for a lack of plot and characterization. The uncertainty about reality could have been used in the more artful manner of _Total Recall_ (based on the work of the archparanoid master Philip K. Dick) but I think the writers preferred to aim lower in hope of appealing to a less sophisticated audience, say that of certain comic books and _Star_Wars_. However, movie does not approach the quality of the best of this genre, as far as I'm concerned.

Gordon gcf at

More information about the lbo-talk mailing list