The Matrix: Exposition in action (video essay)

(image courtesy IMP Awards)

The Matrix utilizes [sic] so many great filmmaking techniques that it’s hard to focus on any specific one, but I’m continually impressed by how they establish an entire world filled with complex rules in a way that feels effortless. In this video, we look at how
The Matrix manages to convey a ton of information in a way that doesn’t disrupt the flow of the action. (synopsis (c) Lessons from the Screenplay)

It’s the 20th birthday of The Matrix, the Wachkowskis’ dystopian magnum opus which, apart from using humanity as a great source of battery power, is a rallying call to fighting freedom in all its forms, including those that seem most seductively welcoming.

So masterfully executed is it (unlike its two sequels which are muddled messes) that you quick get a deeply-immersive sense of what the world has become, who inhabits it and what it might become if someone is brave enough.

Michael Tucker from Lesson from the Screenplay – you can sponsor him on Patreon and you should – examines how utterly effortless their exposition this, and since we all know the simplest-looking things are often anything but (see ABBA’s brilliant pop songs, for starters), it is worth taking a deep dive into how the Wachkowskis accomplish this masterful sleight of hand.

It’s especially impressive when you consider that The Matrix is an action-thriller (with some brilliant, then cutting-edge special effects which still leave you gasping) that is incredibly cerebral, two elements which should be, and in most Hollywood blockbusters are mutually exclusive, but which come together perfectly in this classic film.

Now one last thing – the red pill or the blue pill?

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