The Matrix (1999) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Matrix (1999)



Critic Consensus: Thanks to the Wachowskis' imaginative vision, The Matrix is a smartly crafted combination of spectacular action and groundbreaking special effects.

Movie Info

What if virtual reality wasn't just for fun, but was being used to imprison you? That's the dilemma that faces mild-mannered computer jockey Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) in The Matrix. It's the year 1999, and Anderson (hacker alias: Neo) works in a cubicle, manning a computer and doing a little hacking on the side. It's through this latter activity that Thomas makes the acquaintance of Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), who has some interesting news for Mr. Anderson -- none of what's going on around him is real. The year is actually closer to 2199, and it seems Thomas, like most people, is a victim of The Matrix, a massive artificial intelligence system that has tapped into people's minds and created the illusion of a real world, while using their brains and bodies for energy, tossing them away like spent batteries when they're through. Morpheus, however, is convinced Neo is "The One" who can crack open The Matrix and bring his people to both physical and psychological freedom. The Matrix is the second feature film from the sibling writer/director team of Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski, who made an impressive debut with the stylish erotic crime thriller Bound. ~ Mark Deming, Rovimore
Rating: R (for sci-fi violence and brief language)
Genre: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By: , , ,
Written By: Larry Wachowski, Lana Wachowski, Andy Wachowski
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 21, 1999
Warner Bros. Pictures - Official Site


Hugo Weaving
as Agent Smith
Robert Taylor
as Agent Jones
Paul Goddard
as Agent Brown
David Aston
as Rhineheart
Denni Gordon
as Priestess
Rowan Witt
as Spoon Boy
Elenor Witt
as Potential
Tamara Brown
as Potential
Janaya Pender
as Potential
Adryn White
as Potential
Natalie Tjen
as Potential
Bill Young
as Lieutenant
David O'Connor
as FedEx Man
Jeremy Ball
as Business Man
Fiona Johnson
as Woman in Red
Steve Dodd
as Blind Man
Luke Quinton
as Security Guard
Michael Butcher
as Cop Who Captures Neo
Nigel Harbach
as Parking Cop
Andy Wachowski
as Window Cleaner
Lana Wachowski
as Window Cleaner
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Matrix

Critic Reviews for The Matrix

All Critics (141) | Top Critics (34)

A technologically stunning movie that furthers the genre and features crowd-pleasing performances to go with the frequent scenes of gunplay and violence.

Full Review… | October 3, 2015
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

Extremely violent, extremely preposterous, extremely entertaining, The Matrix succeeds at two extremely difficult tasks: as a vast, exciting virtual-reality movie and as a defibrillator for Keanu Reeves' big screen career.

Full Review… | October 21, 2013
Seattle Times
Top Critic

The movie is nonsense, but it does achieve a brazenly chic high style -- black-on-black, airborne, spasmodic.

Full Review… | October 21, 2013
New Yorker
Top Critic

The Wachowskis and cinematographer Bill Pope take advantage of currently available technical trickery to create visually distinct levels of reality while setting high-speed cameras in motion to make the action sequences particularly dynamic and fluid.

Full Review… | October 21, 2013
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Where other films are done in by the freedom offered by computer effects, The Matrix integrates them beautifully.

Full Review… | October 21, 2013
AV Club
Top Critic

A must-see among genre fans, especially guys in their teens and 20s, for whom the script's pretentious mumbo-jumbo of undergraduate mythology, religious mysticism and technobabble could even be a plus rather than a dramatic liability.

Full Review… | June 5, 2007
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Matrix


saw one of cinema's greatest achievements, 'Plan 9 from Outer Space'. Widely regarded as the worst film of all time, it featured a plot unrivalled in absurdity.

Then came 'The Matrix'. Apparently robots (or space zombies, or some variety of scary CGI monsters) have enslaved humanity, and are harvesting them for energy. To keep their living batteries entertained the robo-zombies (or space alligators, it doesn't really matter) have created a giant computer game called 'the Matrix'. With a devil-may-care disregard for the first law of thermodynamics, this game runs on the energy of the people it simulates.

But some of these people break out of the computer game and live in a rusty metal bucket and eat gruel. Being heroes, they plan to overthrow their demon-squid robot overlords and free humanity, so they can all live in rusty metal buckets and eat gruel. There are some philosophical pretensions and religious references in there, but these are too simplistic and crass to be worth going any deeper into.

Keanu Reeves gives a very believable performance of bad acting, while the rest of the cast mince around in sunglasses and trench-coats, delivering dialogue which serves no other purpose than carrying the plot.

The first fifteen minutes of this film are quite watchable, which is why I am giving it a generous 1 1/2 stars 10-04-01 (Updated)

Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

A computer hacker who is unsatisfied with his life is contacted by a mysterious stranger who reveals to him that the "real world" is in fact a computer generated simulation designed to subjugate the human race. The most striking aspect of The Matrix is obviously its visuals; highly influenced by the wire work of Asian cinema, the Wachowski brothers cranked it up another level by creatively using computer software to pretty much perfect the action sequence. The mix of fetish wear, brilliantly designed cyber punk technology and super cool actors (both Reeves and Fishburne were catapulted into mega-stardom by this film) makes for an audio visual cocktail that influenced virtually every film that followed. But for me it is the simple but brilliant concept that is the real strength of The Matrix, which marries all the favourite themes of sci-fi. The Messianistic super hero, technophobia, conspiracy theory and prophecy all combine to make a thrilling story which creates the perfect structure in which the hero can perform fantastic feats without compromising narrative logic. It still looks amazing more than a decade later and is two solid hours of pure, adrenaline-fuelled entertainment. A stone cold classic.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

Cool, groundbreaking, mind-twisting and simply phenomenal! A landmark science fiction masterpiece, that set a whole new standard for out-of-the-box film-making. Keanu Reeves may be dryer than a stick under the scorching California sun, but I still think he was one of the greatest of all possible casting choices for Neo. The true scene-stealer of the film, however, is the mesmerizingly brilliant Hugo Weaving, as the chilling and calculative Agent Smith. He isn't the typical villain, but an extremely intelligent baddie, whose every utterance is a fascinating piece of his multi-faceted, yet cold-hearted mind. Of course, the real crowd-drawer here though, is the visually spectacular special effects. At the time of release, they made everything that came before it virtually obsolete. While it isn't a perfect creation (no movie truly is), it's still pretty much as close as you can get. A personal favourite of mine, whose mind-blowing concoction of philosophy, martial arts and top-of-the-line SFX, makes it one of the most awesome film experiences ever. Now, the question remains: Will you take the red pill or the blue pill?

Mike S

Super Reviewer

The Matrix Quotes

– Submitted by Ellen D (3 months ago)
– Submitted by Gabriella M (4 months ago)
– Submitted by Jester M (13 months ago)
– Submitted by Juliet C (15 months ago)

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