A Glitch in the Matrix (Sundance Review)


Sundance film festival 2021

PLOT: This documentary digs into a school of thought that asks the question, what if reality as we know it isn’t real and we’re all living in a simulation?

REVIEW: What if we were all living in a computer simulation? Ever since The Matrix came out in 1999, that’s been the topic of what I’m sure have been many weed-fuelled late-night conversations among friends, but the theory goes a lot deeper than that. So-called “simulation theory” has been around for a long time, The Matrix only popularized it.

The movie flashes back to a speech given by author Philip K. Dick at a convention, where he describes how an experience with Sodium Pentothal awoke him to a new consciousness, where the artificiality of our world became apparent to him. Director Rodney Ascher, famous for Room 237, interviews several, similarly convinced people – including scientists, theorists, and random folks, all of whom believe this theory holds water.

Ascher himself never works to convince the audience of these claims – the whole point of the film is to ask what if? It’s an entertaining, occasionally thought-provoking documentary even if, like me, you’re exceedingly wary of such theories. It’s still a popular idea though, and Ascher makes his point using a lot of footage from nineties sci-fi, including The Matrix, Dark City, The Thirteenth Floor, and more.

Shot during lockdown, the interviews were all conducted by Skype, but, in a neat twist, vintage CGI is used to disguise the participants, giving them all cyberpunk avatars. It gives the film a striking effect, and surprisingly never distracts from the interviews, all of which are compelling if not entirely convincing to a non-believer such as myself.

Ascher himself is happy to go beyond the theory, expanding the film to explore how our notions of reality are sometimes warped by the works we identify with too much. One such extreme example is the infamous “Matrix Killer”, Joshua Cooke, who killed his parents after becoming convinced that his life was a simulation. He talks about how, as a mentally ill teen, he felt that the film awakened him, watching it over and over, buying a black trench coat, and becoming convinced that he was experiencing the same things Neo did. Cooke, who speaks to Ascher from prison, is a fascinating subject, with him refreshingly clear-eyed about the reality of what he did and not begging for sympathy. Likewise, Ascher never blames the film itself for what happened, but it does help illustrate his theory, about how the idea that we’re living in a simulation has indeed gained traction over the years – an interesting side effect of the information age.

glitch in the matrix

If you’ve seen any of Ascher’s previous films (including his sleep paralysis doc – The Nightmare), you’ll know that they occasionally get pretty “out there”. Some of the wild theories explored here sound more like mental illness than anything (particularly as far as Philip K. Dick goes, with his videotaped rant more disturbing than it is illuminating), but it’s fascinating stuff. While I doubt this is going to make anyone feel like they’ve taken a cinematic red pill, it’s pretty entertaining and a worthy addition to Ascher’s cannon. Love him or hate him, there’s no other documentarian quite like him.





Source link

Get in Touch

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Toronto Raptors’ Pascal Siakam, coach Nick Nurse, 5 assistants sidelined due to protocols

3:02 PM ETTim BontempsESPN Raptors star forward Pascal Siakam, head coach Nick Nurse and five assistant coaches were unavailable for Toronto's game 122-111...

Facebook launches rap app – TechCrunch

Facebook unveils another experimental app, Atlassian acquires a data visualization startup and Newsela becomes a unicorn. This is your Daily Crunch for February...

Atlanta Dream Sold to Investor Group That Includes Former WNBA Star Renee Montgomery

In a highly anticipated move, the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream — co-owned by former U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler — have been sold to an...

Get in Touch

21,308FansLike
2,507FollowersFollow
17,200SubscribersSubscribe

Latest Posts

Toronto Raptors’ Pascal Siakam, coach Nick Nurse, 5 assistants sidelined due to protocols

3:02 PM ETTim BontempsESPN Raptors star forward Pascal Siakam, head coach Nick Nurse and five assistant coaches were unavailable for Toronto's game 122-111...

Facebook launches rap app – TechCrunch

Facebook unveils another experimental app, Atlassian acquires a data visualization startup and Newsela becomes a unicorn. This is your Daily Crunch for February...

Atlanta Dream Sold to Investor Group That Includes Former WNBA Star Renee Montgomery

In a highly anticipated move, the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream — co-owned by former U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler — have been sold to an...

Stadia version of Terraria is back in production after developer reconciles with Google

Earlier this month, Terraria co-creator Andrew Spinks announced that his studio Re-Logic would cancel a Google Stadia port. However, the developer...

Pandemic changes NBA draft rules for seniors

In a shift from years past, the NBA league office will require college seniors to petition the league for inclusion on the NBA...