‘The Matrix Resurrections’ Review: Slipping Through Dreamland

Alice eventually finds herself in a deep, gloomy hall after chasing the White Rabbit through a very long tunnel.

The doors that run the length of the tunnel are all locked. Alice wonders how she will ever leave as she moves into the hallway.

‘The Matrix Resurrections’ Review: Slipping Through Dreamland


‘The Matrix Resurrections’ Review: Slipping Through Dreamland

The fourth instalment of “The Matrix” trilogy may leave you wondering essentially the same thing as its fantastical setting alternately amuses and annoys you.

The first movie in the series, which the Wachowski siblings co-directed in 1999 and which completely changed the genre, included Lewis Carroll’s elusive bunny as its inspiration.

Neo, a.k.a. the One (Keanu Reeves, the movie’s perfect rescuer), reads on his desktop computer just before doing that, “Follow the white rabbit.” The pursuit persisted through two sequels, comics, and video games, and at times it appeared to go on forever.

As one of the best interpretive chew toys of modern pop culture, it has provided fuel for reams of essays, dissertations, and academic volumes (“The Matrix and Philosophy: Welcome to the Desert of the Real”).

‘The Matrix Resurrections’ Plot

In “The Matrix Resurrections,” when the plot picks up again, the cycle is propelled forward even as it loops about and eats its own tail. Reeves performs the dual roles of Neo and Thomas Anderson, who live in separate yet related universes.

Although airlessly art directed, Anderson’s world is a computer programme called the Matrix run by artificially intelligent machines. It is similar to our own in many ways.

In this world, human avatars conduct their daily lives under the illusion of freedom. These robots hold human bodies, including Anderson’s, captive in goo-filled vats, using the energy from these meat puppets to fuel the Matrix. This is the series’ wittily wicked interpretation of the cycle of life.

“Resurrections,” which Lana Wachowski alone directed, makes its goals clear right after the opening credits, which feature streams of descending green code.

A scene that mirrors the brutal setups in the first movie and makes you cry for Carrie-Anne Moss’s Trinity, Neo’s companion in arms, has a woman with short hair fighting stern guys in suits and sunglasses.

‘The Matrix Resurrections’ Cast

Since the third film, there have been a number of significant cast changes. Hugo Weaving and Laurence Fishburne, who provided gravitas and much-needed wit, are sadly absent. Instead, Jonathan Groff has transformed into a smooth, scary predator, using his boyishness as a cunning con artist.

Neil Patrick Harris, who portrays the Analyst in an unhelpful, one-dimensional manner, is a less welcome addition. Still, only a few of Reeve’s facial creases and his salt-and-pepper hair are different in this scene. Characters continue to fight as they brawl and babble their way through the maze while donning fetish clothing or nubby threads.

The fact that “The Matrix” and its predecessors are examples of what has come to be known as mind-game movies, or “a ‘certain tendency’ in contemporary cinema,” in the words of film historian Thomas Elsaesser, makes some of that blathering amusing.

‘The Matrix Resurrections’ Ratings

Contains severe gun and other violence; rated R. 2 hours and 28 minutes total. HBO Max and in theatres.