Meewella | Critic

According to P

Tag: Keanu Reeves

QuickView: The Matrix Resurrections (2021)

“The choice is an illusion. You already know what you have to do.”

Bugs

Even with Hollywood’s penchant for the safety of franchise films and nostalgia, resurrecting this long-dormant series that had already steadily declined in quality came as something of a surprise, particularly as a sequel and not a wholesale reboot. The Matrix Resurrections seems equally awkward with this role, its opening act a self-aware, borderline parody as “Mr Anderson” finds himself developing a videogame sequel, complete with focus group survey results exploring the disparate reasons fans have been drawn to The Matrix, above all originality and freshness. It is bizarre but genuinely fun, and seems almost an apology for the turgid mess that follows. To her credit, Lana Wachowski (this time directing solo) does not simply retread old ground and chooses to examine the relationship between Neo and Trinity, exploring the extent to which our choices and identity are actually dependent on others. The first half of the film presents a compelling mystery as we try to understand how Neo and Trinity have survived and where they are, seemingly reinserted into the Matrix but robbed of their memories. Unfortunately the answers are underwhelming, arriving halfway into the film, and the second half is a real slog with the promise of an action-heavy resolution never really materialising. I have also never seen a sequel make such heavy use of previous footage, sometimes as fragmented memories, sometimes literally projected onto a set whilst similar events unfold. This tight link to the past makes reviving Morpheus and Agent Smith without their original actors all the more egregious. Astonishingly, given franchise’s reputation, there is not a single memorable action set piece in the entire film. People shoot a lot of automatic weapons, Keanu throws out protective forcefields from his hands, and a helicoptor hits a building again. The world of The Matrix always felt densely populated, both in the simulation and in Zion. Now it all feels like empty déjà vu.

5/10

QuickView: To The Bone (2017)

“I’ve got it under control. Nothing bad’s gonna happen.”

Ellen

CN: Eating disorders

To The Bone works best as character study of a young woman in recovery for an eating disorder but struggles in its efforts to provide a compelling narrative framework. This is not an enjoyable film to watch, as Lily Collins’ enthralling performance makes it clear that, despite her protestations of control, Ellen is constantly on the verge of tragedy. There is dark humour in Ellen’s cynical attitude and undoubtedly some will perceive this as flippant or exploitative treatment of a serious disorder, though really it comes from grounded realism — indeed both Collins and writer-director, Marti Noxon, bring their own experiences to the project. Undoubtedly the shots of emaciated bodies could be triggering to some, but portrayal of the graphic reality is important to this film; it is not romanticised or fetishised. Noxon works primarily in television and To The Bone is rarely shot in a way that feels particularly cinematic — that works reasonably well within the confines of the group home, but it leaves the wider world feeling cramped. In its desire to be more universally representative, we never really get a sense of where Ellen’s trauma is rooted; the surface references make her seem more self-indulgent, and the sequence as she hits rock bottom feel trite as a result, even as the film successfully avoids feel-good cliché.

7/10

"A film is a petrified fountain of thought."

(CC) BY-NC 2003-2022 Priyan Meewella

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