Last night I watched The Matrix with my little brother for the first time in ages. The film, and its (horrific) sequels, played a big role in my desire to go to film school. I saw The Matrix for the first time at a sleepover when I was 13, along with Fight Club. My parents have absolutely no interest in film, and were quite strict with what they allowed me to watch, so this was the first time I had ever experienced really good, mind-blowing cinema. The sequels inspired me towards filmmaking for a different reason – they came out around the same time as Kill Bill Vol. 1, which was the film that really piqued my interest in the behind-the-scenes stuff, and the Matrix sequels incensed me to make films precisely because they were so shit. I thought to myself, “I can do a much better job than that!” – of course, I couldn’t, but they got my brain on a creative kick where I started actively thinking of how to make a better film and enjoying the process of thinking it through.
So, for at least a couple of years after Reloaded and Revolutions came out, my enjoyment of the original movie was ruined – I couldn’t watch it without thinking of what a mess they’d made of the rest of the franchise (that’s right, Animatrix, I said “franchise”, not “trilogy”). But with my memory of the other films a little hazy by now, I was able to relax and appreciate it for the work of genius it truly is. The cinematography is mindblowing, the actors’ subtle little gestures and inflections are magic, the structure and pacing are perfect, the mise-en-scene is lush, the casting rocks (Carrie-Ann Moss is possibly my favourite action star of all time, apart from maybe Uma Thurman)…everything is exactly as it should be.