The Matrix

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The first section of the film establishes what the film is going to be about. It sets the atmosphere and introduces some of the main characters. Without giving the plot away, hints are dropped which question reality and imply that there is another world and that not everything is what it seems. This leads the audience to suspect that something is different or unusual, leaving them anxious to find out what.

This is in contrast to the last section of the film where the audience’s suspicions that something does not agree with the nature of life today is confirmed as we see that Neo (the main character) finally becomes “The One” against all the odds. In addition, it is by now that the audience have also realised that the world in which they live in today, in the film, is computer generated and that according to the film there is another world beyond the matrix.

Before the actual film even begins the audience realises that everything is not as it seems as the introduction where we see the Warner Brothers sign is not in its recognisable colours, it is green and grey which straight away create a sense that it may be eerie, unusual, unexpected. This prepares us for a certain type of film, obviously not a chic flick, classical, or glamorous film. Put together with this the soundtrack is unbroken until the phone call cuts in. The audiences’ interpretation of this may be that things seem to be going well and continuous until something cuts in.

The phone call begins the film. There are three main colours used in the film, these are green, blue and red. Each colour is used in turn to represent a change in society and surroundings. In the beginning, green is the colour emphasised for example the first thing we see is a blinking cursor on a dark screen, normally you would expect the cursor to be white however here it is green. Another example would be the sky it is not blue with white clouds, how we would expect it, but it is more turquoise with pale green clouds, even human flesh has a slight tinge of green.

Everything that the audience sees at the beginning of the film they can relate to as it seems the same as the world they live in apart from the colour, which is very unusual, certainly not expected by the audience and goes against human nature. Because this goes against familiarity, it may lead the audience to think that maybe this is a different world to what they live in. As the film continues, the audience, along with Neo (the main character), are introduced to the Nebuchadnezzar. It is noticeable to the audience that whenever aboard the Nebuchadnezzar (whenever not in the matrix) the main colour is blue.

Blue is the colour of water. Water flows, water is powerful and water can get everywhere. In relation to this, the Nebuchadnezzar is a hovercraft, like a ship though it does not travel through water; it flows through the real world. The few people on the ship all have access to the matrix (the world similar to the one the audience lives in). They are like the water with a twist; they can get anywhere providing there is a telephone nearby because telephones are their entrance and exit to and from the matrix.

When in the matrix they are far superior to those who live there, those who have no idea about two different worlds. As we see in the beginning with Trinity, these people from the real world have inhuman powers for example running faster and jumping rooftops that man could never imagine, well a man that does not know about the matrix and reality. With two worlds, one being controlled by the other, and people, who look like the audience themselves, having supernatural powers there is no doubt that the audience by now have suspicions about the world they live in and that all is not what it seems.

In the last part of the film when the audience focus on the matrix again, red is used to correct the green tinge that was present in the beginning and make everything back to normal. However, in saying back to normal the audience could only be relating to the world in which they live in, they could not be talking about the Matrix because of course the matrix didn’t seem normal to begin with. By this time the audience are completely aware that the matrix (the world they could relate to), is in fact a computer generated world and that the people in the real world have amazing, inhuman strength and power.

At this time, some of the audience may be starting to doubt the world they live in. So overall, the red colour correcting the green colour could just be the final addition, to the colour palette, to the last sequence, and maybe to the suspicions or accusations of the audience. Along side colour, lighting emphasises and puts a certain edge on the set and characters in the film. To begin the film it is nighttime and so there is no natural light from the sun. The only lighting is that from flashlights, computer screens, and street and car headlamps, hence it always dimly lit.

This might seem strange to the audience because no lighting from the mains is used. The first time the audience are introduced to Trinity she is dressed all in black patent leather and her black hair is slicked back with gel. The audience might associate her with the next group of people they see, the agents, purely for the simple reason that the colour she is dressed in is similar to the colour they are wearing. All three agents are dressed in dark suits with a white collar and dark tie. All three of them wear sunglasses.

These are unnecessary because of course it is nighttime. However, the audience soon steer away from the idea of them being close when they realise Trinity is running away from the men. Shortly after, a phone box is lit up by headlamps of a lorry. It is lit up because this is where the action is about to happen. The car headlamps are used to blind us from seeing who is driving the lorry. The light provides a focus for the audience, who already are trying to think why these people seem to be enemies.

In the film light also exaggerates a situation , for instance when Neo is alone in a room, the fact that it is a basic square shape, well-lit and pale coloured room emphasises that he is a small defenceless person in a big room, he is isolated and has no escape. However as well as light being used to show where the action is about to take place it is used to highlight an escape route or show the way for characters. For example, when the audience fears something is about to happen to Trinity, it is a lit up room that attracts her attention and she escapes diving through a window to the light.

Then, later in the film when Neo has been told to follow the white rabbit, he nearly misses his chance but a girl moves so that light can shine on her shoulder making a tattoo of a white rabbit visible. In addition to this, the light often separates the agents from Neo and those helping Neo. In day light we can see that the agents are usually located in a dimly lit place, and Neo is well lit up. For the audience this helps to emphasise that the agents are evil, in the wrong, and probably sinful while Neo is the innocent one.

Nevertheless, at the end of the film as the main agent is breaking up and the audience see inside him they are almost blinded by how strong, white, and bright the light is from within him, they are probably greatly surprised that such bright and glorious light could come from such an evil character. Yet another way of interpreting this would be that the light was that bright and glorious because it was almost like a celebration that the end has come for the evil character and that no harm will come from him again.

The whole way through the film, the audience are treated like Neo. Before he is introduced, the audience get a quick snippet of life. For instance, they see the normal people, such as police officers, who they would normally see in their life. They then see Trinity, although they know nothing about her, their minds start suspecting as soon as they see the reactions she has, the power she has, and the strength she has.

The audience then see the agents, these also have inhuman powers, strength, and reactions, and therefore this is when the suspicions that the audience first had start to grow and the audience start to question reality to find the truth. The first time the audience see Neo, it is as if they adopt his mind and body, he has his headphones on so we hear his music, then when he takes them off, we hear nothing. In addition, the audience listen to the phone call between Neo and Morpheus as if on a third line.

This is the beginning of a learning curve for Neo and from this point onwards the audience are looking for clues and gaining information along side Neo, that the apparently real world is in fact a virtual-reality simulation. During the film, where there is heavy action, the camera shows lots of close-ups and fast cuts, such as in the first fight scene, where Trinity fights off the police officers. In contrast to this, when the action is over, a long shot is used to show devastation Trinity has caused. By doing this the audience are involved in the action and are then shown the consequences of the action.

At the beginning of the film, we are only shown one sequence at a time, for instance when there is a conversation, crosscutting is used so that the audience only see one person at a time, the talker. This is a shot reverse shot cutting with the purpose that the audience should see the facial expressions of only the talker to ensure that those of the listener do not influence their feelings and reactions. In contrast to this, at the end of the film we often see two people together, and consequently opposite expressions are shown at the same time.

This is shown in a fight; we see the effort and powerfulness of one character while we see the other is injured, hurt and weak. This shows the audience the two contrasting ideas, and makes both ideas seem extreme. At the end of the film, the camera uses crosscutting so that the audience can see in two places at once, however here we part from Neo for he can only see what is happening to him. This happens when Neo, or rather his mind, is racing against the sentinels to get back onboard the Nebuchadnezzar.

Because the audience are involved in the film, they are much like Trinity, wondering if Neo will make it, or if the sentinels get there first. Any suspicions that the audience first had about there being two worlds may have been confirmed by now however, their knowledge of these two worlds continues to elaborate. Nobody knows how much deep meaning is in the film and therefore things happen leading the audience to find a meaning for this or maybe some of the audience do not have this deep understanding and therefore can only portray it as a coincidence.

For example, the first time we see anyone from Morpheus’ ‘team’ we see Trinity sat with a computer and telephone in room 303 of ‘Heart O’ the city hotel, at this point she holds great fear of the agents. Similarly, nearing the end of the film Neo exits the matrix by a phone in room 303 in ‘Heart O’ the city hotel’, however this time the agents fear Neo. The audience may think that this happened purely by coincidence, however others could say that Trinity left the phone in room 303 for a purpose, the purpose being that she new it would be needed in the future.

Although the room 303 could be coincidental, later there is a happening, which is definitely meaningful. The oracle tells Neo that he is not the one although he may be the one in another life. At the end of the film, in Neo’s first life he does not believe that he is the one, and therefore he is not and dies. However, when Trinity kisses Neo whom she thinks is dead, he comes back to life and in this life he believes that he is the one and therefore he is the one.

Relating to this, earlier in the film Neo says to Morpheus, “Are you trying to tell me I will be able to dodge bullets,” Morpheus replies, “No I am telling you that when the time comes you won’t have too! ” Later in the film, Neo dodges bullets but because here Neo does not believe that he is the one, this is not the time Morpheus talks about. However, in his second life, when Neo is the one, he does not have to dodge the bullets, instead his strong belief means that he has the power to stop them in the air, which he does. Morpheus talked about this time.

When the oracle tells Neo not to worry about a vase it is straight after that Neo knocks the vase causing it to fall and smash and then he starts to worry. This could relate to the audience in that way they do not notice something until it appears again later or until it is pointed out, they then start puzzling and looking for more, which may add to or confirm suspicions they had earlier made. By the end of the film, I would say it is clear to the audience that it is the mind that makes the matrix real, so the matrix is all in the mind!

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