The Matrix is a 1999 science fiction action film written and directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski and starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, and Hugo Weaving. It was first released in the USA on March 31, 1999, and is the first entry in The Matrix series of films, comics, video games and animation.
The film describes a future in which the world we know is actually the Matrix, a simulated reality created by sentient machines in order to pacify and subdue the human population while their bodies' heat and electrical activity are used as an energy source. In the film, computer programmer Thomas A. Anderson leads a secret life as a hacker under the alias Neo until is told about the matrix by Morpheus, who believes that Neo is a messiah who will free humanity. It contains numerous references to the cyberpunk and hacker subcultures; philosophical and religious ideas; and homages to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Hong Kong action movies, Spaghetti Westerns and Japanese animation.

Cryptic messages appearing on Neo's computer monitor that lead him to Trinity, a famed hacker, Neo admits that he wishes to learn what "the matrix" is. Neo has an encounter with several sinister agents in what appears to be a dream. He then meets a group with Trinity that take him to the mysterious Morpheus, a man who offers him the chance to learn the truth about the Matrix.
Neo accepts by swallowing a red pill. Neo abruptly wakes up naked in a liquid-filled chamber, his body connected by wires to a vast mechanical tower covered with identical pods. The connections are severed and he is rescued by Morpheus and taken aboard his hovercraft, the Nebuchadnezzar. Neo's neglected physical body is restored, and Morpheus explains the situation.
Morpheus tells Neo that the year is estimated to be around 2199, and humanity is fighting a war against intelligent machines created in the early 21st century. Morpheus takes Neo to a computer simulation of the world: The sky is covered in thick black clouds created by the humans in an attempt to cut off the machines' supply of solar power. Morpheus explains that the machines responded by using human beings as their energy source, growing countless people in pods and harvesting their bioelectrical energy and body heat. The world which Neo has inhabited since birth is the Matrix, an illusory simulated reality construct of the world of 1999, developed by the machines to keep the human population docile. Morpheus and his crew are a group of free humans who "unplug" others from the Matrix and recruit them to their resistance against the machines. Within the Matrix they are able to use their understanding of its nature to bend the laws of physics within the simulation, giving them superhuman abilities. Morpheus tells Neo that he believes that Neo is "the One", a messiah prophesied to end the war through his limitless control over the Matrix.
Neo is trained to become a member of the group. A socket in the back of Neo's skull, formerly used to connect him to the Matrix, allows knowledge to be uploaded directly into his mind. He learns numerous martial arts disciplines. Neo tells Morpheus that he knows kung fu, Morpheus answers by setting up a sparring match in a virtual reality construct similar to The Matrix. Neo impresses the crew with his speed but suffers defeat after defeat against Morpheus. Further training introduces Neo to the key dangers in the Matrix itself. Injuries suffered there are reflected in the real world; if he is killed in the Matrix, his physical body will also die. He is warned of the presence of Agents, powerful and fast sentient programs with the ability to take over the body of anyone still connected to the system, whose purpose is to seek out and eliminate any threats to the simulation. Yet Morpheus predicts that, once Neo fully understands his own abilities as "the One", they will be no match for him.
The group enters the Matrix and takes Neo to the apartment of the Oracle, the woman who has predicted the eventual emergence of the One. She tells Neo that he has "the gift", but that he is waiting for something, perhaps the next life. Neo interprets from this that he is not "the One". She adds that Morpheus believes in Neo so blindly that he will sacrifice his life to save him. Returning to the hacked telephone line which serves as a safe "exit" from the Matrix, the group is ambushed by Agents and police officers, and Morpheus is captured as Neo and the others escape. The group was betrayed by one crew-member, Cypher, who preferred his old life in ignorance of the real world's hardships, and made a deal with the Agents to give them Morpheus in exchange for a permanent return to the Matrix. The betrayal leads to the deaths of all crew-members except Neo, Trinity, Tank, and Morpheus, who is imprisoned in a government building within the Matrix. The Agents attempt to gain information from him regarding access codes to the mainframe of Zion, the humans' last refuge which is deep underground. Neo and Trinity return to the Matrix and storm the building, rescuing their leader. Neo becomes more confident and familiar with manipulating the Matrix, ultimately dodging bullets fired at him by an Agent. Morpheus and Trinity use a subway station telephone to exit the Matrix, but before Neo can leave, he is ambushed by Agent Smith. He stands his ground and eventually defeats Smith, but flees when the Agent possesses another body.
As Neo runs through the city towards another telephone exit, he is pursued by the Agents while "Sentinel" machines converge on the Nebuchadnezzar's position in the real world. Neo reaches an exit, but he is shot dead by the waiting Agent Smith. Back on-board the Nebuchadnezzar, in the real world, Trinity whispers to Neo that she was told by the Oracle that she would fall in love with "the One", and had then fallen in love with Neo. She refuses to accept his death and kisses him. Neo's heart beats again, and within the Matrix he stands up; the Agents shoot at him, but he raises his palm and stops their bullets in mid-air. Neo sees the Matrix as it really is: lines of streaming green code; he finally becomes "the One". Agent Smith makes a final attempt to physically attack him, but his punches are effortlessly blocked, and Neo destroys him. The other two Agents flee, and Neo returns to the real world just in time for the ship's EMP weapon to destroy the Sentinels that had already breached the hull of the ship. A short epilogue shows Neo back in the Matrix, making a telephone call promising that he will demonstrate to the people imprisoned in the Matrix that "anything is possible." He hangs up the phone and flies into the sky above the city.

Actor Will Smith turned down the role of Neo. He later stated that, if given the role at that time, he "would have messed it up". His wife Jada Pinkett-Smith later played Niobe in the two Matrix sequels. Carrie Anne Moss had co-starred in a fantasy television series entitled Matrix several years before production of The Matrix. That series ran for only 13 episodes but was rebroadcast in several countries after The Matrix became a hit.

In the film, the code that comprises the Matrix itself is frequently represented as downward-flowing green characters. This code includes mirror images of half-width kana characters and Western Latin letters and numerals. In one scene, the pattern of trickling rain on a window being cleaned resembles this code. More generally, the film's production design placed a bias towards its distinctive green color for scenes set within the Matrix, whereas there is an emphasis on the color blue during the scenes set in the real world. In addition, grid-patterns were incorporated into the sets for scenes inside the Matrix, intended to convey the cold, logical, artificial nature of that environment.
The "digital rain" is strongly reminiscent of similar computer code in the film Ghost in the Shell, an acknowledged influence on the Matrix series (see below). The linking of the color green to computers may have been intended to evoke the green tint of old monochrome computer monitors.

Production design
The film is known for developing and popularizing the use of a visual effect known as "bullet time", which allows the viewer to explore a moment progressing in slow-motion as the camera appears to orbit around the scene at normal speed.
One proposed technique for creating these effects involved accelerating a high-frame-rate motion picture camera along a fixed track at a high speed to capture the action as it occurred. However, this was discarded as unfeasible, as the destruction of the camera in the attempt was all but inevitable. Instead, the method used was a technically expanded version of an old art photography technique known as time-slice photography, in which a large number of cameras are placed around an object and fired simultaneously. When the sequence of shots is viewed as a movie, the viewer sees what is in effect two-dimensional "slices" of a three-dimensional moment. Watching such a "time slice" movie is akin to the real-life experience of walking around a statue to see how it looks from different angles.
Some scenes in The Matrix feature the "time-slice" effect with completely frozen characters and objects. Interpolation techniques improved the fluidity of the apparent "camera motion". The effect was further expanded upon by the Wachowski brothers and visual effects supervisor John Gaeta to create "bullet time", which incorporates temporal motion, so that rather than being totally frozen the scene progresses in slow and variable motion. Engineers at Manex Visual Effects pioneered 3D visualization planning methods to move beyond mechanically fixed views towards complex camera paths and flexibly moving interest points. There is also an improved fluidity through the use of non-linear interpolation, digital compositing and the introduction of computer generated "virtual" scenery.
The objective of bullet time shots in The Matrix was to creatively illustrate "mind over matter" type events as captured by a "virtual camera". However, the original technical approach was physically bound to pre-determined perspectives, and the resulting effect only suggested the capabilities of a true virtual camera.
The evolution of photogrametric and image based CGI background approaches in The Matrix's bullet time shots set the stage for later innovations unveiled in the sequels The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. Virtual Cinematography (CGI-rendered characters, locations and events) and the high-definition Universal Capture process completely replaced the use of still camera arrays, thus realising the virtual camera.
This film upset the juggernaut release of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace by winning the Academy Award for Visual Effects.

Visual effects
See also: The Matrix: Original Motion Picture Score and The Matrix: Music from the Motion Picture
The film's score was composed by Don Davis. He noted that mirrors appear frequently in the movie: reflections of the blue and red pills are seen in Morpheus's glasses; Neo's capture by Agents is viewed through the rear-view mirror of Trinity's motorcycle; Neo observes a broken mirror mending itself; reflections warp as a spoon is bent; the reflection of a helicopter is visible as it approaches a skyscraper. (The film also frequently references the book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, which has a sequel entitled Through the Looking-Glass.) Davis focused on this theme of reflections when creating his score, alternating between sections of the orchestra and attempting to incorporate contrapuntal ideas.
In addition to Davis's score, The Matrix's soundtrack also features music from acts such as Rammstein, Rob Dougan, Rage Against the Machine, Propellerheads, Ministry, Deftones, The Prodigy, Rob Zombie, Meat Beat Manifesto, Massive Attack and Marilyn Manson.

The Matrix Music
The Matrix was first released in the U.S. on 31 March 1999, less than two months before the highly anticipated sci-fi film Star Wars: Episode I. It earned $171 million in the U.S. and $460 million worldwide,

The combination of special-effects-laden action and philosophical meandering was considered fresh and exciting. "I walked out of The Matrix [...] and I was thinking, 'What kind of science fiction movie can people make now?' The Wachowskis basically took all the great sci-fi ideas of the 20th century and rolled them into a delicious pop culture sandwich that everyone on the planet devoured."

Critical reception
The Matrix received Oscars for film editing, sound effects editing, visual effects, and sound.

Awards and nominations
See also: The Matrix influences and interpretations
The Matrix makes numerous references to recent films and literature, and to historical myths and philosophy including Messianism, Buddhism, Gnosticism, Christianity, Existentialism, Nihilism, Vedanta, Advaita Hinduism, Yoga Vashishta Hinduism and Sikhism. The film's premise resembles Plato's Allegory of the cave, René Descartes's evil genius, Kant's reflections on the Phenomenon versus the Ding an sich, and the brain in a vat thought experiment, while Jean Baudrillard's Simulacra and Simulation is featured in the film. There are similarities to cyberpunk works such as Neuromancer by William Gibson. There is also a similar "Matrix" used by the Travellers in Paul Cornell's 1992 Doctor Who spin-off novel Love and War, in which a socket at the top of the spine is used to plug into the Matrix.

Influences and interpretations
"Neo" is an anagram of "one" and believed to be "the One" throughout the film and series.

Influence on filmmaking

Main article: The Matrix (series)

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