Keanu Reeves is here as Anderson / Neo in the latest segment of Lana Wachowski’s “The Matrix,” subtitled “Resurrections.” This chapter is brisk and satisfying for fans of the story now deeply embedded in pop mythology. The action is beguiling to the eye even if it is somewhat predictable.
Devotees of the franchise can cheer. For the uninitiated however, the explanations might trigger some head-scratching. This episode takes place after “Revolutions,” some sixty years after Neo achieved a peace pact between humans and The Machines in exchange for his life, which involved the defeat of Smith, a square jawed guardian of the masses.
Now Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) is a game designer just trying to keep his sanity. Anderson wants no further part in The Matrix thinking it a game, but generic men in black suits and sunglasses try to convince him otherwise. Day after day in a coffee shop, Anderson spies a reticent woman with ethereal qualities, Tiffany / Trinity (Carrie Ann Moss). He can’t place Tiffany in his mind at all.
He goes to see The Analyst (the excellent Neil Patrick Harris), an exceedingly smarmy person who tells Anderson he’s regressing and not doing well. The men in suits intrude into Anderson’s mental and emotional core and Anderson discovers, with the help of Morpheus (Yayha Abdul-Mateen II), that his name is in fact Neo.
During one transcendental fugue that Anderson experiences, he is injected into an electronic bloodstream of sorts. He further remembers that Trinity is his lost love, imprisoned in a fetal state. The scene design cubistic and gray recalls the video artist Nam June Paik’s gigantic constructions made from television consoles or HR Giger’s intrusive sexual machines.
There are also intriguing moments when Neo remembers images from his past and his face merges into the past and present. In the manner of Twilight Zone or a John Frankenheimer film Neo watches images of his life onscreen. The blending is visually exciting.
The Analyst does not mean well and Anderson as Neo wants to fight for the release of Trinity his intermittent, occasionally dispassionate, love interest.
There is a martial art scene between Neo and Morpheus that resembles calligraphy, albeit of the pulp kind. But the action remains fluid and engaging.
The explanations are wordy and opaque and they will prove somewhat elusive, but the showdowns are duly thrilling. Suffice to say that cyber-savior Neo loves Trinity and wants to even the score with those pesky virtual black tie bureaucrats once more.
There is an arresting statement in the film that nostalgia lessens anxiety. Indeed, it is comforting to see Neo fight for what is right in cyberspace, clad in his black trench coat, a kind of Goth Indiana Jones, seeking to be free from the elusive pill, be it red or blue.
If only it had a bit more Jefferson Airplane and “White Rabbit.” What if the pill that Anderson took was purple?
Whatever the case or the ultimate outcomes, “Matrix: Resurrections” is a fun scene especially for those still plugged in for Neo versus Smith.
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