The Matrix (The Wachowski Brothers, 1999)

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The Matrix (The Wachowski Brothers, 1999)

Post by Admin on Thu Oct 08, 2015 3:30 pm

How is the main character constructed? What filmic tools are used to accentuate and highlight that construction? What are the objectives, desires and challenges s/he faces?

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Re: The Matrix (The Wachowski Brothers, 1999)

Post by KevinK23 on Tue Oct 13, 2015 4:03 pm

The Matrix - 1999

Keanu Reeves plays the lead role of Thomas A. Anderson (who also goes by the hacker name of “Neo”) who at the beginning of the film appears to be a regular guy with nothing exceptional about him (other than he is a computer hacker). However before we are introduced to Neo, Trinity (played by Carrie-Ann Moss) mentions that Morpheus (played by Laurence Fishburne)  thinks “he is the one”, which lets the audience know that Neo may be of exceptional importance. When we are first introduced to Neo he is asleep with headphones on in front of his computer. This lets the audience see his normality as this type of thing happens regular people all the time.
The area that he is in is an average room with many objects lying around the desk in no order, the room is clearly not well looked after. We see that Neo lives alone and he does not seem to have much personality or much of a life outside his computer. Even when he did go out to a nightclub, he just stood by himself. At the beginning of the film long shots are used to show Neo by himself to show his loneliness and the fact he has no one close to him.

That is until the long shot in the nightclub where Neo is by himself and Trinity enters the frame. She breaks the trend of Neo being by himself which automatically connects these two characters and the sense of togetherness enters Neos life as neo and Trinity share the frame as she gets closer to him until she is whispering in his ear.


Neos normality is on show again as he is late for work and his boss complains to him about this while making sure Neo knows he is not special and is merely a pawn in a large organisation. Neo is wearing an average suit as he is apologies to his boss and appears very meek. The sense of Neo at the stage is that he does not stand up for himself and could not be more unnoticeable even if he tried. Even Neos working area is exceptionally plain, he has no pictures or anything for that matter.


Neo is then involved in a situation where he is being chased and suddenly the camera is following him in a tense scene. This is the first time Neo does anything out of the ordinary as he scrambles across the floor avoiding his pursuers. He is then faced with a choice which involves high risk. While he is making this choice he mutters to himself, “Why me?” “I can't do this” and sure enough he does not go for the high risk option because he clearly does not believe in himself, he does not seem to believe in anything really. Close ups are used on Neo in this scene and the fear on his face is plain to see, as well as confusion, he does not seem to be hero (or “the one”) material.

Around ten minutes later in the film Neo is again faced with a choice. In typical Neo fashion he chooses “the high way” literally, instead of going with these strangers who claim they can introduce him to Morpheus, a man he has desired to meet. That is until Trinity convinces Neo to stay with them, it is clear that it matters to Neo what Trinity has to say.

Neo meets Morpheus and the difference in the two characters is clear immediately. Morpheus is dressed in slick clothing while Neo is averagely dressed. Everything about Morpheus is calmer and cooler compared to Neo. Their body language says a lot in this scene. While Morpheus is laid back in his chair never taking his eyes of Neo, Neo is sitting forward, anxious, uncomfortable and eager to know what is going on.
This scene is a vital moment in the film as Morpheus puts yet another choice to Neo. He can go back to his normal life or he can join Morpheus and the others to find out the “truth”. If past behaviour is anything to go on then Neo is expected to take the easy way out and just return home but this is different. He has been searching for Morpheus and he wants to escape his life and find out the “truth”. Neo decides to take the braver route and go with Morpheus which is a huge stepping stone in the character development of Neo as he is now out of his comfort zone and taking risks. Neo also reveals that he does not believe in fate and likes the idea of being in control of his own life.

When Neo enters The Matrix he rips free of his bonds that his body and mind have been kept in. He leaves that life behind him and begins the path of finding out the truth and who he really is and what he is capable of. Morpheus trains Neo and Neo seems to fit in well after a while, Neo even smiles for the first time in the entire film when he is fighting Morpheus. He seems to belong in this world and even prefer it to the life he lived in The Matrix even though this life has extremely poor living conditions. Neo begins to care about the cause that Morpheus and the others are fighting for. Neos eagerness is shown when Morpheus is talking to Neo after they have fought but Neo interrupts him by attacking him, eager to fight again. He wants to get better and prove that he can beat Morpheus which he does. Neo has started to believe in himself and he knew he could beat Morpheus which ultimately led to Neos victory.

Neo is told he will have to decide who lives between himself and Morpheus, on top of that he is also told he is not the one. Sure enough the choice arrives and Neo decides to attempt a rescue mission for Morpheus (thinking it will mean sacrificing his own life due to the prophecy) as Neo begins to believe in the prophecies that have been foretold despite earlier in the film saying he did not believe in such things. Morpheus has had an affect on Neo as he has started to believe in what Morpheus has being saying, including that Neo is the one and it is clear that Neo feels he has let Morpheus down by not being the one as Morpheus was completely convinced he was.

The rescue mission is described as a “suicide mission” but Neo is set on doing it anyway. This is a long way from the Neo at the start of the film who would never risk his own life. The biggest influence on Neos dramatic change is that he now has something to believe in. It is this belief that drives him and simultaneously gives him self belief. Also with Trinity by his side they seem to have a strong connection as well as the shared belief in the truth and freeing Morpheus. The music that plays while Neo is in action is fast paced action music which would not have been expected from the earlier Neo. He is dressed in black from head to toe (mostly leather) with weapons being his only accessory (except for the iconic sunglasses). This makes him seem like exactly the type of guy you would not mess with.

By the end of the film Keanu Reeves is no longer playing Mr A. Anderson but instead is playing only the slick dressed Neo as no traces of his old self are left when he has the opportunity to run but instead turns to fight the dreaded “agents”. Neo has no fear and no self doubt as he engages the agent (in previous combat the opponent engaged him but not this time) and defeats him. Neo is later shot and apparently killed by the agents but suddenly he awakens (as it is revealed that Trinity is in love with him) to find that he is in fact the one and has power beyond belief (which includes stopping bullets). When Neo leaves The Matrix and enters the real world he embraces Trinity confirming their love for each other and unity in their cause.

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Re: The Matrix (The Wachowski Brothers, 1999)

Post by LSSOMCKA on Sun Oct 18, 2015 9:36 pm

Thomas. A. Anderson or "Neo" as he is referred to in the virtual world, is the main protagonist of The Matrix. When we are first introduced to him, he is portrayed as a ordinary computer hacker, who goes unnoticed throughout his everyday life, as effectively, he brings no significance to it. This is undeniably visible within the scene with his boss at work, when he puts it into perspective that Thomas is “just another pawn in someone else's much bigger game”. Throughout the film Neo is faced with many challenges, one of the earliest being whether or not to trust his subconscious quest for knowledge and enlightenment, by following the character Morpheus' directions to safety, or surrender like many of his other subordinates would have. The scene where Neo has to attempt to escape his Pursuers from the office is when he must face his own fears of challenging the unknown. Yet at first he doubts himself and his abilities, which leads him to being captured by the agents. When he wakes from what is believed to be a dream, of which he is being interrogated by ‘Agent Smith’ who then implants a bug into him, he is then shocked by the terrifying realisation that it in fact did happen. Once Neo and Morpheus finally meet, Neo is proposed with another challenge... Take the Blue Pill and his quest for knowledge will end and his life will go back to normal... or Take the Red Pill and he will "stay in wonderland" and be shown "how deep the rabbit hole goes". Neo almost instantly choses to learn more and ultimately take the red pill, then, this is when both Neo and the audience are introduced to ‘The Matrix’ for the first time. The Matrix is a virtual reality designed to house the minds of all humanity disguising our world to look how it is ‘supposed to look’, but in reality, the real world is very much in ruins and chaos, run by machines and artificial intelligence with only one human alliance left.
 
What we knew of Thomas Anderson, a lonely and cowardly man with little significance in the world, was all left behind when he left ‘ The Matrix' as he then took on his virtual alias of ‘Neo’. Upon leaving The Matrix he is forced to abandon all beliefs he has of the 'artificial' life he once knew as home, and he now must accept that it was not real but just a programme designed to house humanities perception of the world. This was an extremely tough challenge for Neo to overcome, as he had to leave behind everything he once knew and was effectively becoming a new man. Morpheus informs Neo that he is ‘the chosen one’, and that he must follow the prophecy to save all of mankind and defeat the machines. (‘Neo’ is also an anagram for ‘One’ which also gives us a foreboding sense of what is to come of his character). We can start to notice this in the training programmes when Morpheus lets Neo know how the laws of The Matrix can be bent or broken, which is proven within their fighting sequence. This then excites the rest of the crew as this is the first time Neo has shows potential to fulfil this prophecy. As the film progresses Neo grows as a character and becomes much more than he was, he is no longer the lazy slob we saw in his opening scene, as he is now starting to believe in his own abilities and his confidence within those abilities. The audience can see this throughout the film, even after being told he is not the one by a character names ‘The Oracle’.
 
By the closing scenes of the film Neo proves his true abilities by fighting Agent Smith and surviving, being chased to his unsuspected death then in fact being reborn as he comes back to life. This rebirth could be paralleled to the rebirth of ‘Christ’, as this icon usually portrays a being that can give or impart something to humanity that it needed or lacked, such as knowledge, healing or most significantly in this film, hope and salvation. We also notice Neo’s omniscience and also omnipotence by how he now views The Matrix, as its rawest form, which is, the code that makes it up. It is here that we truly witness the true power of Neo or the 'Chosen One' as he then enters Agent Smith’s body and blows him apart, something that has said to never have been done before.
 
   
I believe the director chosen to portray the character in this sort of way to prove, not only how somebody can lead to separate lives, their front self, and their virtual being, but also to prove how somebody who on the outside can seem so insignificant and weak, can have such a huge impact on society.

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Re: The Matrix (The Wachowski Brothers, 1999)

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