136 minutes, U.S.A.-Australia, 1999, Colour, Anamorphic, Dolby Digital Stereo, 35mm

The Matrix remains a true one-off and we choose to ignore the entirely superfluous sequels that came after. For their seminal sci-fi actioner, sibling writer-director duo the Wachowski Brothers alluded to everything from Alice in Wonderland and philosopher René Descartes to The Tibetan Book of the Dead and Japanese anime. What sold their vision to global audiences, however, was the Zen cool of Keanu Reeves and the magnificent action sequences as choreographed by Hong-Kong legend Yuen Woo-ping, later enlisted by Quentin Tarantino for his Kill Bill movies.

It should also be noted that The Matrix is produced by Joel Silver, the true auteur of modern action cinema. His credits include everything from the original 48 Hours to Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes movies. For better or worse, no one man has done more to inform the genre in the modern age. If you’ve never seen The Matrixon the big screen, we strongly suggest you take the red pill immediately. (Notes by Derek O’Connor.)

Showing as part of a Bang for your Buck: Action Movies 101 season throughout May.

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