The Wachowskis made their directing debut in 1996 with Bound, and reached fame with their second film The Matrix in 1999, for which they won multiple awards and much critical acclaim. They wrote and directed its two sequels – The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions – both in 2003.
All three films star Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne and Carrie-Anne Moss and have been added to the already extensive VIDI library. A complex story, the series tells of Thomas Anderson, a man living two lives. By day he is an average computer programmer and by night a hacker known as Neo who finds himself targeted by the police when he is contacted by Morpheus, a legendary computer hacker branded a terrorist by the government. Morpheus awakens Neo to the real world, a ravaged wasteland where most of humanity has been captured by a race of machines that live off the humans’ body heat and electrochemical energy and who imprison their minds within an artificial reality known as the Matrix. As a rebel against the machines, Neo must return to the Matrix and confront the agents: super-powerful computer programmes devoted to snuffing out Neo and the entire human rebellion.
Following the commercial success of the Matrix series, the siblings wrote and produced the 2006 film V for Vendetta, which is currently available on VIDI. The film stars Natalie Portman (Black Swan) and Hugo Weaving (a Matrix regular) and tells the story of Evey Hammond and her unlikely but instrumental part in bringing down the fascist government that has taken control of a futuristic Britain. Saved from a life-and-death situation by a man in a Guy Fawkes mask who calls himself V, she learns a general summary of V’s past and decides to help him bring down those who committed the atrocities that led to Britain being in the shape that it is in. The film was directed by Wachowski collaborator James McTeigue and its controversial storyline and themes were the target of both criticism and praise from socio-political groups. It was released in 2006 and was a critical and commercial success.
The Wachowskis returned to directing with 2008’s Speed Racer, an adaptation of a Japanese manga series from the 1950s. Upon release the movie was considered a critical and commercial disappointment even though its special effects were noted as outstanding. However, in more recent years, critics have put the film on their lists of underrated or cult films.
The story begins with a young man with natural racing instincts whose goal is to win the Crucible, a cross-country car racing rally that took the life of his older brother. But along the way he uncovers a secret that top corporate interests are fixing races and cheating to gain profit. So he sets about seeking to rescue his family’s business and the racing sport itself. The film stars Emile Hirsch and Matthew Fox (Lost) and Susan Sarandon and is available on VIDI from June 11.
The Wachowski’s latest film, Jupiter Ascending, was released in cinemas in February 2015. An original science fiction screenplay they wrote, the movie features an all star cast that includes Channing Tatum (Magic Mike), Mila Kunis (Black Swan), Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) and Sean Bean (Game of Thrones).
Kunis plays Jupiter Jones who was born under a night sky, with signs predicting that she was destined for great things. Now grown, she dreams of the stars but wakes up to the cold reality of a job cleaning other people’s houses and an endless run of bad breaks. Only when Caine Wise (Tatum), a genetically engineered ex-military hunter, arrives on Earth to track her down does Jupiter begin to glimpse the fate that has been waiting for her all along – her genetic signature marks her as next in line for an extraordinary inheritance that could alter the balance of the cosmos.
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