Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.3/20104
- Truth at twelve thousand frames per second: 'The Matrix' and time-image cinema
- Tofts, Darren
- To all appearances it looks like any other movie bust. A dumpy cop, a pair of cuffs in one hand and a flashlight in the other, approaches a spread-eagled perp. The woman in the fetish gear turns swiftly and disarms the cop with a pinpoint succession of blows to the arm and face. Then it happens. She leaps into the air with an impossible elegance and assumes a martial arts vogue, hanging frozen in space several feet above the cop, who also seems to have succumbed to this sudden pause in time. The only thing that moves in the three seconds this maneuver takes to unfold is our viewpoint of the scene, which rapidly sweeps around the tableau in a breathtaking 180-degree arc. The effect is awesome, sculptural, as the woman's body floats as a pure mathematical point in space, a pure instant of attention. The spell of this composite image of intense duration is broken as quickly as it is cast, however, as the woman proceeds to beat to other rhythms, disarming three more cops in rapid succession. This scene occurs three minutes into the Wachowski Brothers' film 'The Matrix' (1999). As an establishing shot it introduces pretty well everything that is important to the development of the film: the high-tech noir aesthetic, a subaltern appropriation of the ICT network, and the messianic pursuit of 'the One'. Its singular moment of action is so dramatic in its impact that we may blink in disbelief at what we think we have just seen, as the spectacular sequence resolves itself into diegesis and the plot ticks over.
- Publication type
- Book chapter
- Research centre
- Swinburne University of Technology. Faculty of Life and Social Sciences
- 24/7: time and temporality in the network society / Robert Hassan and Ronald E. Purser (eds.), Part 2, chapter 5, pp. 109-121
- Publication year
- Cinema studies; Film; Civilisation; Computers; Information society; Information technology; Matrix trilogy; Science fiction; Time; Wachowski, Andy (1967-); Wachowski, Larry (1965-); Wachowski brothers
- Stanford University Press
- 9780804751964, 0804751978
- Publisher URL
- Copyright © 2007 by the Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University. All rights reserved.
- Peer reviewed