The Matrix

The Matrix is a 1999 dystopian science fiction film written and directed by the Wachowski siblings and starring Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Laurence Fishburne. The film explores a post-apocalyptic future where machines have taken over the Earth. Humanity is used as an energy source while trapped inside a simulated reality called the Matrix, which replicates the modern-day world. As a small group of rebels wages war from outside the Matrix, a computer hacker named Neo is liberated from his artificial reality and recruited to help fight for humanity. Outside of the film's philosophical concerns, The Matrix is characterized by its use of martial arts choreography. It also popularized the film effect "bullet time," in which time appears to be moving in slow motion for certain characters to highlight their perspective during a fight scene. 

Several actors, including Will Smith, Nicolas Cage, Brad Pitt, and Val Kilmer, turned down the lead role of Neo. Eventually, Warner Bros. studio executives pushed for Reeves, who was selected over Johnny Depp. The lead actors performed many of the stunts and action sequences themselves and trained for four months before pre-production. They also were required to understand related philosophical and sociological theories, as well as ideas about evolutionary psychology. 

Made on a budget of $63 million, The Matrix netted over $465 million in box office sales. It was the fifth highest-grossing film of 1999, and the highest R-rated film released that year. Critics responded strongly to the film's themes and creative cinematography. Entertainment Weekly referred to The Matrix as "the most influential action movie of a generation," and Roger Ebert gave it three stars out of four. The film won four Academy Awards, including Best Film Editing, Best Sound, Best Sound Effects Editing, and Best Visual Effects. Two more films in the Matrix franchise would follow, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions.

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