Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
The Wachowskis and cinematographer Bill Pope take advantage of currently available technical trickery to create visually distinct levels of reality while setting high-speed cameras in motion to make the action sequences particularly dynamic and fluid.
Los Angeles Times:
A wildly cinematic futuristic thriller that is determined to overpower the imagination, The Matrix combines traditional science-fiction premises with spanking new visual technology in a way that almost defies description.
Extremely violent, extremely preposterous, extremely entertaining, The Matrix succeeds at two extremely difficult tasks: as a vast, exciting virtual-reality movie and as a defibrillator for Keanu Reeves' big screen career.
Given a budget that encourages their kinesthetic skills, the filmmakers tend to go on a bit, but it's mostly a kind of quick, glancing hipness that's being indulged here.
The Matrix is the coolest -- a journey into a genuinely original vision of our cyberfuture that will have you checking your own reality by the time it's over.
The Matrix not only is a failure as a science-fiction movie -- long on explanation, short on inspiration -- but it doesn't do anything interesting with the futuristic vision that it takes forever to explain.
New York Times:
The most salient things any prospective viewer need know is that Keanu Reeves makes a strikingly chic Prada model of an action hero.
New York Post:
A more technically dazzling synthesis of action choreography and cutting-edge computer graphics has not been seen since James Cameron's T2.
There's not much humor to keep it all life-size, and by the final stretch it's become bloated, mechanical, and tiresome.
Where other films are done in by the freedom offered by computer effects, The Matrix integrates them beautifully.
A blast of Holly-Kong glitz that never approaches the stylistic cohesiveness of, say, John Woo's Face/Off or the charisma of that film's propulsive star John Travolta.
Globe and Mail:
For those who have been waiting for movies to catch up with the graphic possibilities of comic books, wait no longer: The Matrix is among us.
A technologically stunning movie that furthers the genre and features crowd-pleasing performances to go with the frequent scenes of gunplay and violence.
The movie is nonsense, but it does achieve a brazenly chic high style -- black-on-black, airborne, spasmodic.
The movie is kinetic, atmospheric, visually stunning, and mind-bending.
The Matrix did not bore me. It interested me so much, indeed, that I wanted to be challenged even more.
It may bore you to death or blow your mind -- and it's long and convoluted enough to do both -- but it holds nothing back!
San Francisco Chronicle:
It's astonishing that so much money, talent, technical expertise and visual imagination can be put in the service of something so stupid.
Keanu Reeves makes a lean, strikingly beautiful tabula rasa hero, twisting out of the way of bullets that elongate like silver beads of mercury, and he's partnered by the equally hard, blank, and androgynously gorgeous Carrie-Anne Moss.
A must-see among genre fans, especially guys in their teens and 20s, for whom the script's pretentious mumbo-jumbo of undergraduate mythology, religious mysticism and technobabble could even be a plus rather than a dramatic liability.
Ultimately, The Matrix settles for technically dazzling comic-book shtick. Some might count this as a good thing, but I'm not a fan of the Wachowskis' more-is-more aesthetic.
There's a kind of liberating, almost transforming energy in this film; it lights you up and sends you out all giddy with silliness.
Special kudos to the mysterious Wachowski tag team, who have created a lurid, splashy nightmare for the end of the millennium.