08 / A FORCE AWAKENS
THE MATRIX (1999)
Taking the red pill may have been the correct choice, but for Keanu Reeves’ Neo it proves a painful dose of reality. And for the audience it’s a deftly executed early plot twist, changing everything (and hitting a multiplex crowd with a heady dose of Baudrillardian philosophy along the way). So the world that looks and feels like ours is merely a virtual construct. And the world that is actually real is a sunless, robo-apocalyptic nightmare where humanity is little more than an exploitable energy source. It’s a classic sci-fi idea — a hero realising that the world he lives in is a lie — but the Wachowskis reinvigorated it via a plethora of influences: Lewis Carroll (the looking glass Neo dips his finger into after taking the pill), David Cronenberg (the body-horror of the cables connected to him) and H. R. Giger (the insect-like machine). To prep, Reeves lost 15lbs and shaved his body for an emaciated just-born look. Rebirth has rarely been so exciting or savagely beautiful.