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4.0 out of 5 stars The Matrix - BFI Modern Classics, 29 Mar 2005
Mr. R. M. Brown (Canterbury, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Matrix (BFI Film Classics) (Paperback)
Contrary to expectations, Joshua Clover's analysis of this modern masterpiece is rather excellent. Where other authors have fallen into the trap of focussing on the (pop) philosophy mumblings within the films design (a trap posed by the Wachowskis themselves), Clover rightly sidesteps this and takes it as merely a feature of a clever film concerned with much more than being pointlessly verbose.
By taking this tack, Clover risks offending those who see the Matrix as little more than a philosophical sideshow (a brilliant sideshow in their eyes), which is a brave stance to take and is the reason why this book is worth buying - it offers a reasoned, intellectual analysis of The Matrix as a film about the real world, a modern metaphor, rather than pandering to the fans. Whilst certain philosophical references are focussed on (like the digital disc inside 'Simulacra & Simulation'), the point of these is not only to unravel what they might say about the story, but what they say about the film itself relevant to its 1999 context.
The result is a text that offers up some interesting new angles on a film that has been covered by many, many people already. I personally liked the dissection of Keanu Reaves/Neo as something of a Baudrillardian cipher, or the chapter focussing on the film as a spectacle. Whilst this is an intellectual work, Clover maintains a light, entertaining writing style throughout. The only reason this doesn't get 5 stars is that in some areas I would have loved to have read more, and would have liked perhaps closer more detailed reference to certain shots, or more background information - something, for comparison, that Dana Polan's guide to Pulp Fiction did.
But if the only complaint is that I wanted more, I guess that's no bad thing!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Cybeprunk on a 'Roid Rage of Revelations!!, 8 July 2012
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This review is from: The Matrix (BFI Film Classics) (Paperback)
Major films that have talk of Philosophy, Mythology, Morality, History, Politics, Folklore, Religion, Legends, Literature, & Pop Culture commentary, DO exist. And The Matrix is one!

For it seems most major global franchises: from Star Wars to Star Trek, and Terminator, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and the works of Philip Pullman, embody such themes no audience would otherwise endure in a 2-hr lecture!

So well done to the BFI for putting such books out there-- not least, as their selections are subjects widely held in high regard, and so the writing of them is both intelligent, respectful, engaging, and often times enlightening...

I strongly recommend this book, as well as 'The Terminator,' 'Blade Runner,' and 'Eyes Wide Shut' editions of the BFI Modern Classics series, as all touch upon some equally profound themes. And so if you're even remotely into one or more subjects listed in my first two sentences, then this series is definately for you!!

So, as Agent Smith says to Morpheus of the Matrix; "Have you ever looked at it; and marvelled at its beauty?" Well, now you can, too-- and know exactly what I mean...
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The Matrix (BFI Film Classics)
The Matrix (BFI Film Classics) by Joshua Clover (Paperback - 12 Jun 2007)
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