Bruce Fretts says, Who cares if the Keanu Reeves sci-fi thriller is impossible to understand -- it's still great fun


‘The Matrix’ looks like a hit

The other night, everything on TV was a repeat. My 2-year-old son had gone to bed early, and my wife was working on our computer. I could’ve stayed home and read Elmore Leonard’s new novel, but that seemed too mentally taxing. So I went to see ”The Matrix” instead.

I couldn’t tell from the trailers what the movie was about, but it looked cool. After seeing the movie, I still can’t tell you what it was about, but I can tell you that it looked cool. I couldn’t explain the plot if you held a gun to my head — and yet I loved every minute of it. Which raises an intriguing question: Does a movie have to make sense to be any good? My answer is a resounding ”Not necessarily.”

Sometimes you just want to be battered senseless, and ”The Matrix” does quite well in that department, thank you. It didn’t hurt that my suburban New Jersey theater had the soundtrack (featuring creep-rockers Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson) cranked to 11. The story had something to do with Keanu Reeves and computers, but I stopped paying attention to the dialogue halfway through and just let the trippy visuals wash over me. It was a most pleasant sensation.

You often hear people complain that Hollywood screenplays are becoming incomprehensible these days. Which is true, but in the case of a film this dazzling, who cares? Everybody moaned that ”Mission: Impossible” was impossible to figure out, too, but you’ve gotta admit that scene where Tom Cruise dangled from the ceiling was way cool.

I never thought the ”Matrix” writing-directing duo of Larry and Andy Wachowski could cook up anything more exciting than the girl-girl action between Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly in their 1996 debut flick ”Bound,” but the brothers top themselves here with a scene in which Reeves dodges bullets by slowing them down with his mind. At least I THINK that’s what happened — it was kinda hard to follow.

But hey, if I had wanted a good plot, I would’ve stayed home and read Elmore Leonard.

The Matrix

  • Movie
  • R
  • 136 minutes
  • The Wachowskis