Film School: The Matrix (1999)

“Show, Don’t Tell” – unless Telling works this well.

Perhaps the two Matrix sequels suffered not because of their exposition, but because they used so many more words to say so much less. The magic trick in The Matrix, as Lessons from the Screenplay examines, is that explanation and action interact and enhance, rather than interrupt, one another:

In the years since The Matrix films were released, their director siblings, Lana and Lilly Wachowski, have come out as transgender. This has informed many re-readings of the text and subtext of the films, particularly the original – including this stunning video essay from Now You See It:

Accompanying the original release of the film was this behind-the-scenes featurete, The Making of The Matrix (1999):

Further Viewing

Amongst al the pioneering special effects and much-imitated visuals in The Matrix is some classic filmic storytelling. The “red pill / blue pill” scene is one of the examples we break down to help understand how dialogue is covered using Shot / Reverse Shot and the 180 degree rule:

Even the film’s original theatrical trailer is an (above-average) example of classic tropes: