The Matrix

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The Matrix,

The “Western” Never Known

As stated by the title, there is great reason why the Matrix should be treated in the same context, although not identified, as a western. This film genre is steeped in tradition and lore. There are many definitions abound as to what may constitute a “Western film.” The main goal is to see whether or not this paper can illustrate the genre be pushed towards the future. Whether it means the 20th century, the 21st century or the distant future. This genre can grow towards something bigger and more exciting.

This paper will attempt to explore this debate and give reasoning’s as to what defines a Western, how the Matrix lives up to and modifies the stated definition, will go into the films background such as director, producer, film reviews, etc. Finally the paper will discuss the theme, tone, setting, characters and casting, acting style, lighting, imagery, musical score, and special effects.

Defining a film genre is in some ways difficult and simplistic. Every genre has stated what would define its boundaries. The difficult part is finding one that is solidified by the movies in the genre. The stated definition that this paper will digest and regurgitate is that a Western is a film which is set in the American frontier west. The typical time setting is somewhere in the mid to late 19th century and early 20th century(Dirks, 1). They glorify the past-fading values and aspirations of the mythical by-gone age of the American West(Dirks, 1). Over time, however, Westerns have been redefined, re-invented and expanded, dismissed, re-discovered, and spoofed. This actually makes the definition more lucid, making other films flexible enough to fit quite nicely into the genre.

Westerns also state that these films represent the ideals of a growing nation. Expanding and maintaining established territories is what is at the heart of older Western films as “Manifest Destiny” puts up in dialogue constantly. This particular fact is a main point which will be revisited. Dominating the unknown and uprooting natives or peoples who have been established long before the conquerors.

There are many central conflicts in old westerns. The battle between good and evil is the most common. Others include man vs. man, east vs. west, human vs. nature, or in the Matrix’s case, man vs. machine.

Does the Matrix live up to these ideals of a Western? Yes, in more ways than one.

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