Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Matrix (1999)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Matrix (1999)

Writers-directors Andy and Larry Wachowski's second feature film was the ambitious and inventive, kinetic, action-oriented virtual-reality flick It was the .first remarkable film in a series of three futuristic sci-fi action films. See also The Matrix Reloaded (2003) and The Matrix Revolutions (2003). The blockbuster's wild popularity among audiences was due to its combination of comic-bookish plot, mysticism, philosophical complexity, computer-enhanced digital effects of its unbelievable action scenes, flying bullet-dodging ("bullet-time") and intriguing virtual worlds in which reality was redefined as a computer simulation.

The film helped to illustrate what the future would be of futuristic sci-fi action films with slick and smart plots, and jaw-dropping action. Tremendous visual effects were combined with Eastern world-denying philosophy, metaphysical Zen statements, Japanese anime, Greek mythology, cyberpunk chic, neo-Cartesian plot twists, film noir, and Biblical and Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland) references.

It told about slacker hacker Thomas Anderson / dubbed Neo (Keanu Reeves) who was called as a messianic figure ("The One") to save the world (of approximately the year 2199) from virtually indestructible Sentient Agents, who had created a simulated reality of the world known as the Matrix. They had tapped into humans (as a bioelectric energy source) to plug in and use their heat and electrical activity.

  • the film's impressive title screen opening provided a zoom-shot into dripping or cascading Japanese-like characters
  • in the opening sequence set in Room 303 of the dingy Heart O' the City Hotel in Mega City, two free resistance members, hackers Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Cypher (Joe Pantoliano), under the direction of their leader Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), were tracking the whereabouts of some unidentified person; after Trinity's line had been traced, three sinister agents (wearing dark suits and sunglasses) - led by Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) entered her hotel room to arrest her; after finishing off law enforcement police officers sent to apprehend her, Trinity fought them off, and fled across a rooftop to the street where she raced to a phone booth and found an "exit" to escape; Agent Smith surmised that the next target that they should find was named "Neo"
  • in the next major sequence, obsessed computer software hacker Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) (with the alias "Neo") was asleep in front of his computer monitor, unaware of messages scrolling across about a search for Morpheus; he was awakened by more messages summoning him: "Wake up, Neo." "The Matrix has you." "Follow the White Rabbit"; after leaving his place to attend a rave party, he was approached by Trinity who personally introduced herself. Neo was surprised that the well-known hacker who had been trying to contact him with cryptic messages on his computer was female. She warned him: "They're watching you, Neo." She knew he was restlessly searching for answers to the cryptic question: "What is the Matrix?", and told him that the answer was out there
  • after arriving late for his programming job at corporate high-rise Metacortex, in his white cubicle, Neo was warned via a package and cellphone call from Morpheus that he was about to be apprehended - the three Agents, led by Agent Smith, seized Neo and he was taken into custody and brought to a white room for questioning - viewed by multiple video camera monitors
  • during harsh questioning, Agent Smith proposed a bargain - they would overlook his cybercrimes and "wipe the slate clean" (and give him amnesty) if Neo would cooperate in bringing Morpheus - "the most dangerous man alive" - to justice: ("As you can see, we've had our eye on you for some time now, Mr. Anderson. It seems that you've been living two lives. In one life, you're Thomas A. Anderson, program writer for a respectable software company. You have a social security number. You pay your taxes. And you help your landlady carry out her garbage. The other life is lived in computers where you go by the hacker alias 'Neo' and are guilty of virtually every computer crime we have a law for. One of these lives has a future. And one of them does not")
  • "Neo" appeared to cooperate and called it "a really good deal," but proposed an alternative: "How about I give you the finger and you give me my phone call?" He then went further: ("You can't scare me with this Gestapo crap. I know my rights"), but found his mouth had been fused shut (by programming in the Matrix) and he was unable to speak. Agent Smith counter-threatened: "You're going to help us, Mr. Anderson, whether you want to or not"; before the Agents left, they implanted a living, shrimp-like probe ("bug") in his stomach through his belly-button
  • "Neo" awoke from what he thought was a bad dream, and was directed to meet up with Morpheus; after removing the "bug" from his abdomen, Trinity and others led Neo to an upper floor of a dilapidated hotel, where he met the rebellion leader Morpheus, the leader of a group of free humans; cyber-Messiah Neo was given an explanatory description of The Matrix (a massive AI system created by intelligent Sentient beings), and how the entire human race was born into slavery and placed into a false reality known as the Matrix (a simulation of the world in the year 1999): "The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work, when you go to church, when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth. (Neo asked: "What truth?") That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else, you were born into bondage, born into a prison that you cannot smell or taste or touch. A prison for your mind. Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself. This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back"
  • Morpheus offered Neo a choice - it was a contrast between what was real and not real by the choice of a pill in his open hands and reflected in his glasses: (a red one in his right hand, and a blue one in his left): ("You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes. Remember, all I'm offering is the truth. Nothing more. (Neo chose the red pill and swallowed it) Follow me")
  • in the next sequence, Neo was disconnected or "unplugged" from the Matrix, after Morpheus asked him: ("What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?") - suddenly Neo (who was hairless and naked, and within a liquid-filled pod and connected to wires to suck out his life force energy) was freed by being unplugged from the main cable connected at the back of his neck; he was snatched and brought onboard Morpheus' levitating hovercraft the Nebuchadnezzar, where he was greeted: "Welcome to the real world"

Neo's Unplugging
Hairless and Naked Neo In Liquid Filled Pod, Literally Plugged Into and Harvested as an Energy-Producing Battery
  • in an all-white environment known as the Construct, Neo was taught by Morpheus about how the Matrix functioned; he explained how Neo had lived in the simulated dream world of the Matrix since birth; he also gave Neo a view of the darkened, desolute and depressing real world (devoid of sunlight), when AI machines took over the world in the early 21st century, enslaved humans for their electrical power (when solar power was cut off by humans during a war), and created the Matrix ("a computer-generated dreamworld"); Morpheus explained how it was believed that Neo had been prophesied as "The One" to end the war between humans and the machines
  • Neo was trained in various combat skills and martial arts via downloads of virtual combat (Jujitsu, Kempo, Tae Kwon Do, Drunken Boxing, etc.), to learn how to hack back into the simulated reality and manipulate the physical laws within the Matrix, thus attaining superhuman powers; Neo ("I know kung fu") had to personally face Morpheus in a kung fu competition; Neo was warned that fatal injuries within the Matrix would also destroy one's physical body
  • during a tour of the Matrix, as Morpheus and Neo strolled down a busy street in the downtown area, Neo became distracted by a sexy woman in red (Fiona Johnson) passing by on the busy street. [Note: She was another training 'program' uploaded by Mouse.]; she suddenly changed into the image of Agent Smith with a gun pointed at him. Neo was then warned that they were surrounded everywhere by potential enemies - agents ("If you are not one of us, you are one of them"); Morpheus summarized the main problem: "We have survived by hiding from them, by running from them, but they are the gatekeepers. They are guarding all the doors. They are holding all the keys, which means that sooner or later, someone is going to have to fight them"; Neo questioned Morpheus' hopes that he would lead the effort - and presented a question foreshadowing his own future: ("What are you trying to tell me? That I can dodge bullets?")
  • in a side-plot, it was revealed that Cypher (whose name revealed he would be hiding secrets) had become disillusioned by the real world; he met with Agent Smith during a juicy steak dinner, to betray the freedom cause by providing the agent with a means to capture Morpheus, in exchange for a reinserted, comfortable life in the Matrix; the captain of the Nebuchadnezzar could provide them with the access codes to the mainframe of Zion (the last human city, situated underground) .
  • after his training, Neo (and others) hacked back into the Matrix to visit the Oracle (Gloria Foster) - who had prophesied the return of a Messiah-like figure (the "One"); he also encountered gifted young children known as Potentials, one of whom Spoon Boy (Rowan Witt) showed him how to bend a spoon, and then imparted wisdom: ("Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth...There is no spoon...Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends. It is only yourself")
  • Neo spoke to the Oracle, who was baking cookies in the kitchen in a charming scene, when she asked him the film's central question: "Do you think you are the One?", and then mentioned that he might not be the One; however, he still faced a momentous choice: "You're going to have to make a choice" - between Morpheus' life and his own life: ("One of you is going to die. Which one will be up to you...You're in control of your own life. Remember")
  • while the group was in the Matrix, they were ambushed and one of the young fighters named Mouse (Matt Doran) died; after a fierce fight, Morpheus sacrificed himself to be caught in order to let the others escape from the Matrix; during their frantic return, the group realized that Cypher had betrayed them; Cypher murdered other crew members Switch (Belinda McClory), Apoc (Julian Arahanga) and Dozer (Anthony Ray Parker) before the turncoat was vengefully killed by Dozer's brother Tank (Marcus Chong)
  • after Agent Smith captured Morpheus in the Matrix, he delivered a speech about how human beings were a virus; he explained how agents such as himself were powerful sentient beings who patrolled the Matrix to eliminate threats: ("Human beings are a disease. A cancer of this planet. You are a plague. And we are the cure")
  • Morpheus was intensely brow-beaten to force him to extract access codes to the mainframe of Zion: "I hate this place, this zoo, this prison, this reality, whatever you want to call it. I can't stand it any longer. It's the smell. If there is such a thing. I feel saturated by it. I can taste your stink. And every time I do, I fear that I have somehow been infected by it. (He wiped sweat from Morpheus' forehead onto the tips of his fingers, and had Morpheus smell it.) It's repulsive. Isn't it? (He tightly held Morpheus' head between his hands). I must get out of here. I must get free. And in this mind is the key. My key. Once Zion is destroyed, there is no need for me to be here. Do you understand? I need the codes. I have to get inside Zion and you have to tell me how. You're going to tell me or you're going to die" (He gouged his fingers into Morpheus' flesh but Morpheus refused to talk)
  • before the freedom fighters were forced to pull the plug on Morpheus to keep him from divulging the access codes, Neo announced that he had made the suicidal choice to enter back into the Matrix and save Morpheus
  • inside the simulated reality of the Matrix, in a spectacular action sequence set in the downstairs lobby of a high-rise military building - a massive gunfight broke out between the Chosen One (Neo) and Trinity (both wearing long trenchcoats, sunglasses, and black boots) and a group of soldiers-guards; afterwards, the two were able to propel themselves to the rooftop of the high-rise, where a gripping showdown commenced; Neo defied gravity ("bullet time") with mid-air, limbo-style freeze-frames of the dodging of CGI bullet shots and super-heroic gunfight against shape-shifting Agent Smith, before their exciting rescue by helicopter; Morpheus and Trinity were able to safely exit the Matrix

Gravity-Defying Trinity During the Lobby Shoot-Out

Massive Gunfight on Rooftop of High-Rise Building

  • however, Neo was ambushed by Agent Smith before escaping, and they faced off against each other in a climactic underground abandoned subway station - the two engaged in a long kick-boxing and gun-battle struggle (involving some gravity-defying mid-air conflict and "bullet-time" acrobatics), and then after a long chase through the streets, Neo was shot dead in the abdomen in Room 303 of the Heart O' the City Hotel
Smith vs. Neo in an Abandoned Underground Subway Station
Agent Smith Shooting and Killing Neo in the Matrix
  • at the same time in the real world, five machines called Sentinels attacked the Nebuchadnezzar and were breaching its hull
  • Trinity whispered to Neo that he couldn't be dead because she loved him and that the Oracle had told her that she would fall in love with the One; she kissed Neo and he revived with the power to perceive and control the Matrix; Neo stood up, raised his arm, and the palm of his hand resisted more of the agents' bullets in mid-air; as the One, Neo finally understood that the bullets fired against him were not real - he saw the Matrix as it really was -- solely lines of downward-streaming computer code (or 'digital rain')
  • Neo then singlehandedly and effortlessly conquered Agent Smith's attack and destroyed him; when the remainder of the agents fled, Neo returned to the Nebuchadnezzar as the EMP (emergency self-destruct system) was deployed, producing a blast of white light to kill off the attacking Sentinels

Neo Revived From Death by Trinity's Kiss

Neo Restored and Resisting Bullets

Destruction of Agent Smith
  • in the film's short epilogue, Neo provided a concluding voice-over, shown as a cursor moving on a black screen, as he made a telephone call from a phone booth in a busy part of the downtown area, within the Matrix. Although the call was being traced, Neo was now in control. In his call to the machine masters who were imprisoning humans, his words were visible as racing columns of descending green code. During the call, the screen froze with a warning: "SYSTEM FAILURE."
  • he threatened to expose the machine masters, and promised to save the people imprisoned in the Matrix: ("I know you're out there. I can feel you now. I know that you're afraid. You're afraid of us. You're afraid of change. I don't know the future. I didn't come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it's going to begin. I'm going to hang up this phone, and then I'm going to show these people what you don't want them to see. I'm going to show them a world without you. A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you").

Neo Flying Away
Neo's Phone Call - Promise to Expose the Machine Masters and Save the People Within the Matrix

Hacker Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) Introducing Herself to Neo In a Rave Nightclub

Agent Smith Threatening Thomas "Neo" Anderson

Thomas Anderson / dubbed "Neo" (Keanu Reeves)

Neo's Mouth Fused Shut

Morpheus to Neo: "The Matrix is Everywhere"

Neo's Choice Between Two Pills - He Chose the Red Pill

Morpheus and Neo in the Construct

A Depressing View of the Real Desolate World

Neo's Training with Morpheus in Martial Arts

Test - With Woman in a Red Dress: ("If you are not one of us, you are one of them")

Morpheus: "Sooner or later, someone is going to have to fight them"

Double-Crossing Cypher's Steak Dinner with Agent Smith

Neo With a Child Potential Known as Spoon Boy (Rowan Witt) with a Bent Spoon

Neo Meeting the Oracle (Gloria Foster) in a Kitchen

Tank About to Vengefully Kill Double-Crossing Cypher

Agent Smith's Threatening Speech to Morpheus As He Was Being Tortured

Sentinel (a Search and Destroy Gatekeeper for the Matrix)

The Matrix: Revealed Only as Green Lines of Code


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