Following The White Rabbit With Jameson Cult Film Club

It was 1999. There was talk of a new film called The Matrix by The Wachowski Brothers, now simply known as The Wachowskis, and starring Keanu Reeves (Neo) and Laurence Fishburne (Morpheus). It was said that the actors spent months training in martial arts and the like before starting to even shoot. The special effects were like nothing seen before and significant parts of the dialogue became part of our lexicon.

I don’t know how many times I have watched The Matrix. I watched the sequels The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, both released in 2003, but it was the original that has always drawn me back to the story.

The film ignited conversations between myself and my friends around identity, finding one’s place in the world and reality. What is reality? What is life? Is the world we live in real? How do we know?

Morpheus asks, “What is real? How do you define ‘real’? If you’re talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, the ‘real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.” And when he says, “Welcome to the real world”, in a way, Neo finds himself as do, to certain extent, those who us who submerged ourselves in the film.

Morpheus: “This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”

The Matrix is the epitome of a ‘cult film’ and it was, therefore, fitting that, in November, the Jameson Cult Film Club had it as the theme for their 2018 instalment, carrying on from Pulp Fiction last year and Fight Club the year before. To attend a Jameson Cult Film Club party is to be submerged completely in the movie and, with #JamesonMatrix, on arrival, we were blindfolded and whirled around the room on chairs before getting to a whole in the wall, where we got to choose the green pill.

With a blend of banging tunes, we got to experience different references to the film while enjoying an abundance of Jameson at the multiple bars. This was the one occasion when the multiple phone cameras going weren’t out of place, with so many adhering to the ‘all black everything’ dress code. We were watched over by a sea of African Agent Smiths. We got to dodge bullets, Neo-style. We got to bond over the movie, well, at least those of us who had seen and, in a way, lived the film.

 

I must confess. I watched the film again when I got home afterwards.

Neo: “I know you’re out there. I can feel you now. I know that you’re afraid… you’re afraid of us. You’re afraid of change. I don’t know the future. I didn’t come to tell you how this is going to end. I came to tell you how it’s going to begin. I’m going to hang up this phone, and then I’m going to show these people what you don’t want them to see. I’m going to show them a world without you. A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.

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