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The Matrix is a 1999 Australian-American science fiction-action film written and directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski, starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, and Hugo Weaving. It was first released in North America on March 31, 1999, and is the first installment in the Matrix series of films, comic books, video games, and animation.
The film depicts a future in which reality as perceived by most humans is actually a simulated reality created by sentient machines to pacify and subdue the human population, while their bodies' heat and electrical activity are used as an energy source. Upon learning this, computer programmer "Neo" is drawn into a rebellion against the machines, involving other people who have been freed from the "dream world" and into reality. The film contains many references to the cyberpunk and hacker subcultures; philosophical and religious ideas such as René Descartes's evil genius, the Allegory of the Cave, the brain in a vat thought experiment; and homages to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Hong Kong action cinema, Spaghetti Western, dystopian fiction, and Japanese animation.
Computer programmer Thomas A. Anderson (Keanu Reeves) leads a secret life as a hacker under the alias "Neo" and wishes to learn the answer to the question "What is the Matrix?" Cryptic messages appearing on his computer monitor and encounters with three sinister Agents, led by Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving), lead him to a group led by the mysterious underground hacker Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), a man who offers him the chance to learn the truth about the Matrix. Several members of Morpheus' inner circle, including an infamous female hacker called Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), take Neo to a secret meeting, but only after they have exposed and removed a robotic tracking bug implanted in Neo's body by the Agents. During the meeting, Morpheus gives Neo a choice between two pills: red to learn the truth, blue to return to the world as he knows it. Neo accepts by swallowing the offered red pill, and he subsequently finds himself in a liquid-filled pod, his body connected by wires and tubes to a vast mechanical tower covered with identical pods. The connections are severed, and he is rescued by Morpheus and taken aboard his hovercraft, the Nebuchadnezzar. Neo's neglected physical body is restored, and Morpheus explains the situation.
Morpheus informs Neo that the year is not 1999, but estimated to be closer to 2199, and that humanity is fighting a war against intelligent machines created in the early 21st century. The sky is covered by thick black clouds created by the humans in an attempt to cut off the machines' supply of solar power. The machines responded by using human beings as their energy source in conjunction with nuclear fusion, later growing countless people in pods and harvesting their bioelectrical energy and body heat. The world which Neo has inhabited since birth is the Matrix, an illusory simulated reality construct of the world as it was in 1999 developed by the machines to keep the human population docile in their captivity. Morpheus and his crew belong to a group of free humans who "unplug" others from the Matrix and recruit them to their resistance against the machines. Within the Matrix, they are able to use their understanding of its nature to bend the laws of physics within the simulation, giving them superhuman abilities. Morpheus believes that Neo is "the One", a man prophesied to end the war through his limitless control over the Matrix.
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