Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Matrix and the Truth

As you most adequately put, the problem is choice. -The Architect in Matrix Reloaded

All I remember about my experience when I watched the Matrix for the first time was that I liked its action and that it was talking about a concept related to software programs that I found a little difficult to get hold of. I knew I did not understand the movie fully. There was a guy who watched the movie with us who said he understood it, and I marvelled at his ability. Today I know he was lying. Not because he told me - I have never met him since - but because the style of story telling that Matrix has is such that it cannot be understood by watching it for the first time. The style is something that is not only unconventional but also not proper. Have you ever read a story where characters speak about something which is actually explained much later? Probably in some suspense thrillers, but even there, the suspense is carefully created. In Matrix, the narration style cares a damn if people understand it or not. They talk about something in scene-1, and we ignore it because we did not understand it, and then its meaning is revealed in scene-10, by which time we have forgotten what happened in scene-1. When the person leaves the theator he is bewildered. He comes back again, and understands scene-1 and realises he is understanding it more now. He comes back again and understands more, the meanings of more scenes. The movie, he says, grows.

As per the rules of narration, this is not a correct way to tell a story, and more so in a movie where you can't go back unless you are watching it at home in a CD or DVD. But for some strange reason, this style of narration has worked beautifully for Matrix and people who have been even little curious after watching it and "chose" to watch it again are never tired of watching it. We may account the success of Matrix to this, apart from the fact that it has the action scenes that have thrilled the kids and those who did not understand the story. Action is an integral part of that movie. You cannot imagine Matrix without action. Though you can watch Matrix for action alone, but to call Matrix an action movie will be like reading Atlas Shrugged for its suspense or going to the caves of Ajanta-Elora for eroticism.

Not just the narration style but even the story of Matrix is not an ordinary one. That the internet is full of Matrix related forums one of which has talked about the meanng of the name Rama-Kandra and finding out that Rama was the ancient Hindu God who was responsible for the victory of good over evil exemplifies the impact the movie has had on the people. Had the brothers named him Shiva-Kandra, it would have been the Hindu God responsible for destruction.

Its very concept is unique and,I dare say, in a way tries to explain the world logically, and realises that even logic is not sufficient to do so. In a world where programs hack programs (the morally bad men), are deleted when they don't have a purpose (death), and talk of love and karma, one may wonder how exactly the "brain" of "God" may have worked to create our world.
Each character represents a philosophy in itself, an emotion, a ras. Neo is the avatar: the one, come in this world to save the people. All characters alongwith Neo give the air of an epic, the Mahabharta, and like all epics, its end is somewhat tragic: it's the triumph of the positive emotions, philosophies and beliefs of the characters, but also makes us realise that neither of these emotions, philosophies and beliefs are complete in themselves. Neo is all powerful, but even he was here just to solve a purpose. It does not have a single hero. Its villian is also not without morals.

The second and third parts of the movie have received criticism, for the simple reason that they did not answer the questions that were raised- only asked more questions. The brothers are silent, which may be amusing to some and interesting to many. Nevertheless, no one has been able to understand the movie fully, the reason probably being that it is not meant to be understood fully. It has many levels, as one of the actors in the movie says, and very few are able to appreciate all levels. And it does leave many things unexplained and unanswered at all levels. Maybe the answers are there in the movie itself, hidden like those hidden doors in that building. Maybe the brothers wanted people to think about the questions it raised and answer it themselves with their own theories and imaginatons, which sure is happenning and will carry on forever. One may never know. But it sure is a movie that inspires and gives hope, a movie that says anything is possible and proves it. It is one of those things that will survive time: even classics die, but some things are there forever. As someone has said about the movie, "It asks more questions than it answers. Maybe that's what keeps things like the Bible alive." He had said it in critical tone, but I hope he understood fully what he said.

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