The Matrix Was Prescient About the Online World, But Also the Real World

There’s a tension at the heart of The Matrix. The film frames its machine-forged digital ecosystem as a prison, as a lie intended to keep humanity docile. It’s the work of an authority that means to tame us. But the Matrix itself is also a world of unlimited possibility, one where you can look cooler than the real world would ever allow, do what no flesh-and-blood human ever could, and see and feel and experience things that simply aren’t possible outside of this virtual space. The film quickly establishes a tug-of-war between the truth but meager subsistence the real world offer and the blinding but comforting falsehood of the world made out of ones and zeroes. The inherent push and pull between those two realms keeps The Matrix resonant 20 years later. Granted, certain elements of the film feel dated, like the phone-centric imagery that made sense in an age of dial-up but seems quaint in an era of ubiquitous connectivity. And yet, beyond the movie’s stunning action, intriguing and adaptable premise, and philosophical bent, the thing that makes the film remain so potent and prescient in 2019 is how that essential dichotomy it presents is still with us. Because […]