The Matrix’s real-world legacy – from red pill incels to conspiracies and deepfakes

By Alex Taylor
BBC Entertainment reporter

I was interviewed for this BBC article published today. Quote extracts:

“Where for Baudrillard there was no escape from the simulation, the Wachowskis offered hope in the “promise of a true natural world ‘unplugged’ and separate from the Matrix”, explains Prof Richard Smith, editor of The Baudrillard Dictionary. Baudrillard was not a fan of the change. “The Matrix is surely the kind of film about the matrix that the matrix would have been able to produce,” he said.”

For Prof Smith, the film’s Marxist narrative evokes Plato’s allegory of chained prisoners in a cave “who mistake the shadows on the wall for reality”.

As Morpheus puts it: “The Matrix is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.” The pill scene “urges human beings to free themselves from the world of appearances”, says Prof Smith.

Carrie-Anne Moss and Keanu Reeves star in the original 1999 film

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