The Matrix is quite possibly the greatest sci-fi achievement of the past 20 years. There have been many tentpole releases in the genre that have redefined it nearly completely, and The Matrix is the most recent example of this.
A lot of flack is given to Keanu Reeves for his performance here and in the sequels, but I feel that he was so wooden in the sequels because of how successful he was in this first film. In the same vein, it’s why Al Pacino seems to be the same character in almost every movie he’s done since the 1980s. If you really think about it, he gives probably the best performance one could have given in the role. Of course, Laurence Fishburne reimagined his whole career with his own turn as Morpheus, as do the rest of the cast in one way or another. But truly, it is the scope and vision of the Wachowski Brothers that is the real star here. No sci-fi film in recent memory has been so original, so vastly constructed and imagined with such unbelievable detail. It is truly a film to behold, and one that we seem to take for granted quite easily in the wake of its release.
The only real downside I can come up with is that the film can be very confusing to a first (or even second) time viewer, but thanks to multiple viewings and the advent of the Internet, this can be easily alleviated. If you have yet to see this for whatever reason (word of mouth about Keanu Reeves or the sub-par sequels, etc), make time to do so. You’ll see why science fiction has been changed considerably since its release, and for good reason.
Arbitrary Rating: 10/10