Part 2: MATRIX Philosophy and Cinematography


Continuing our series on MATRIX:

. If you’re new to the series, read Part 1 on the Matrix:


Follow the white rabbit

I love this part — when TRINITY tells Neo to ‘follow the white rabbit’.

To me this is significant because in real life, we are given the opportunity to take a risk, to take a chance. Neo fortunately takes the chance and follows the white rabbit:

There is an ancient Venetian proverb:

The ocean is deeper the further you go into it.

The same philosophy with ‘following the white rabbit/follow the rabbit hole’ (concept from Alice in Wonderland).

In real life, we have the option to take the ‘safe’ option, or we have the option to go into an unknown rabbit hole. I think to live a more interesting/epic life, we should go down more unknown rabbit holes, and go on more adventures!

Window wiping symbolism

There is this funny scene, when Neo wakes up and he is late for his boring job.

The cinematography is this: you see a window with soap suds, being wiped off.

To me the symbolism is this:

Neo is about to have his ‘false reality’ wiped– so he can see ‘real reality’

On not taking risks

One scene is when Neo gets a call from Morpheus, telling him the agents are coming after him. He is instructed to go out of the building, and onto a very dangerous cliff on top of the skyscraper.

Neo then chickens out, and he says, “I can’t do this”, and he ends up getting captured by the agents:

I think the moral lesson is this:

If you don’t take risks in life, you will end up in a worse situation.

Take the red pill, or the blue pill?

Then one of the most iconic parts of the film:

When given the opportunity/choice, do you take the red pill (reality) or do you take the blue pill (false reality)?

To me, this is a great symbol of real life.

In real life, we have options for the red pill/blue pill:

  • Red pill: Pursue truth/philosophy in life
  • Blue pill: Ignorantly blissful

When you go on a journey of self-searching and studying philosophy, you realize that the road will be painful, arduous, and difficult, yet– you would prefer to discover the ‘truth’ of reality, rather than being a happy ignoramus (blue pill).

I particularly like the cinematography here, with the shift between the close-up on Morpheus’s hands (with the two pill colors), then a close-up to his reflective sunglasses, which show both his hands (and both pills), and the reflection of Neo:

Closeup of the hands:

Closeup of Morpheus’ sunglasses/reflection:

Good job Neo, taking the red pill!

You have the option.

Philosophical idea: Morpheus doesn’t force Neo to take the red pill; he simply gives the option/choice to Neo.

Same thing for us in real life– we always have an option in life– we can control which path to take!

Reality isn’t what we think it is

When Neo takes the red pill, he starts to realize…the ‘reality’ isn’t what he thinks it to be:


When I watched the film in 1999, (almost 20 years ago!) I was around 10 years old. I still remember when I watched this scene, I remember how shocked/horrified I was:

Essentially this is when Neo wakes up, and realizes the totally fucked up reality:

Humans are just little batteries.

Neo wakes up, and realizes that he is a slave. He is fed via this pipe which is shoved down his throat, and he is also “plugged into” the matrix, via the wire on the back of his head. Note his shock when he realizes this truth:

From a philosophical perspective, I wonder:

  1. In modern society, we are essentially like cows: we just shove food down our throats, via junk food.
  2. With modern technology (email, smartphones, etc), we are essentially ‘plugged into’ the matrix (mindless social media, blogs, websites, Netflix, etc).

The unplugging

The excruciating pain of unplugging from the false reality of the matrix:

Welcome to the real world

  • Morpheus: ‘Welcome to the real world’
  • Neo: ‘Why do my eyes hurt?’
  • Morpheus: ‘Because you’ve never used them before’.

Lesson: When you see ‘real reality’, it will be painful.

And I also love this metaphor of ‘rebuilding your body’. When you discover a deeper truth in life, you’re going to be weak…but you’re going to have to rebuild your metaphorical muscles to strengthen yourself for the real world:

Part 3 coming soon

Coming soon…

Until then, here are more of my notes for the film:


what is real? how do you define what is real?

real is just electrical signals interpreted by your brain…if we don’t perceive something… is it not real? does it not exist?

‘you’ve been living in a dream world’

built to keep us under control

turn a human into battery?

not easy, but the truth.
– once you go find the truth…u can’t go back. but would you even want to?

‘the mind has trouble letting go’

change whatever you want inside matrix; whatever you see fit!

human race needs to be free.

we need training.

‘you want some more? hell yeah!’

’10 hours straight; he’s a machine’

what rules can be broken…besides physical laws like gravity?

what rules in life can we break…what social rules can we break?

what are you waiting for? you’re faster than this. you’re stronger than this!

don’t think you are; know you are!

stop trying; just do it.

‘I’m trying to free your mind, neo’

how to free your mind // but i can only show you the door–youre the one who has to walk through it

you have to let it all go; fear, doubt, and disbelief. free your mind.

‘i thought it wasn’t real. your mind makes it real’

The body cannot live without the mind.

The system is our enemy

Most people not ready to be unplugged.

Fight the gatekeepers.

Agents; based on rules…break from the rules! The rules don’t apply to you!

Agents will never be as strong or fast as you an be // because others are held down by rules!

You can dodge bullets//you won’t have to dodge bullets!

Bullets can’t harm you! ***

Don’t run against agents; stand your ground and fight!

‘Ignorance is bliss’

What does food really taste like…and why?

‘To deny our very impulses…is to deny the very thing which makes us human’

Are you your memories? What if your memories aren’t real? // or what if you mis-remembered?

Try not to think of right or wrong; she’s a guide.

Help find the path; but there is no right and wrong

I can only show you the door; you must walk through it ***

The truth: ‘there is no spoon’

It isn’t the spoon that bends; only yourself! ***

Do you think you’re the one?

Temet nosce: know thyself (latin)

Without him,…were lost.

Im a guide; keep helping guide others *** // but others must find their own way , only show them the door.


Film as a more engaging philosophy ?

Make films that have philosophy?

FIRST MATRIX supposed to be perfect human world

How to direct your own evolution

‘I believe in something’ — we all need something to believe in!

Neo; Nobody has anyone done anything like this… ‘thats why its gonna work’

Agent smith: I need to get out of here…I need to become free!

Can you fly that thing? Not yet. [not yet!] ***

Symbolism of breaking chains?

I knew it; he’s the one!

You’re the one!

Theres a difference between knowing the path and walking the path

Everything the oracle has told me has become true; except this!

What is he doing? He’s beginning to believe!

My name…is Neo!

‘Neo; im not afraid anymore’

See everything is just green code???

‘You’re afraid of change ‘ // why be afraid of change?

A world without controls or borders or boundaries. ‘A world where anything is possible’

Where we go from there, is a choice I leave to you.

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top