“The Matrix” that was created and produced by the wachowski brothers, was revolutionary at the time that it was created and is still being looked upon for being the pioneer of the camera shot bullet time. It was widely reviewed and was quoted “the action film of the millennium” by Total Film.
One way that the directors create suspense is using visual effects. An example of this is bullet time, a revolutionary idea that involves over one hundred and fifty still cameras to create a slow motion picture that creates suspense and creates a certain aura of mystery when you first see it shown.
Another way that the directors create suspense is to choose their locations very easily to try and emphasize the importance and aim of a particular scene. One scene that they achieved this was in the nightclub. The reason that they chose a nightclub was to create a sense of safety in numbers. The packed club is less likely to be attacked because of all the people and therefore is a safer place to talk and share information that is exactly what they did.
The choice of character plays a big part in the creating of suspense. Two characters that achieve this very well are the Agents and Neo. The Agents appear to show no emotion. They wear very bland clothes and always appear very powerful. The first time that you see the Agents you do not know if they are good or bad and the directors turn tyhis confusion into suspense very well. Neo is also used to create suspense, as he is not the usual action hero. He is not incredibly muscular like other action hero’s such as Arnold Schwarzenegger. He is also a lot more intelligent than others using brain not brawn which separates “The Matrix” from other stereotypical action movies.
Sound effects and music are used a lot throughout the movie. The use of sound effects can be very useful for setting the tone and scene and the directors of “The Matrix” have achieved this very well and appropriately. For example, when Trinity is running across the roof tops while being chased by the agents and the police. The music that is used in this scene follows the movement of Trinity. Therefore, when she slows down as does the music. In addition, when there is a tense moment the music slows down even further and a different style is music is shown as to make it seem out of the ordinary to what you have been watching. This trick creates more suspense than just the tension of the jump. Another time that they use sound effects is when the numbers came up on the screen. The numbers that appear on the screen are zoomed in and so does the music it makes the brain think that it is being pulled into the numbers. We are then shown a police officer’s torch. The way that this works is that the numbers are shown by zooming in. The audience focus in on the numbers and they realise the question “why are the numbers significant?”.
A good example of editing is when the typing on the computer monitor wakes up Neo. The computer typing then tells him to follow the white rabbit. When we are first shown this there is no real significance about a white rabbit, this leaves the audience wondering about how it will become significant. A few moments later, the information becomes noticeable as the director uses a point of view shot to create a sense of importance. At first, you are shown Neo catching his eye on something; you then see the rabbit on the shoulder through the point of view of Neo. Although the point of view shot, is what makes you see what he is seeing without the shot before when you see him notice it the point of view shot would not have had the same effect.
Editing is also used after just before this when trinity leaves the matrix. The agents talk amongst themselves and they say “the search has already begun” the next thing that you see is the computer screen in front of Neo with the word “search” flashing on the screen to bring attention to it as it is being said as the two scenes mould together. This technique is very effective and the director has achieved this very well leaving the suspense building until later on in the story.
Colour and lighting also plays a big part in the creating of suspense throughout the whole movie. Probably the best example of this is in the opening sequence. When the police officers run through into a dark room and their torches focus in on Trinity. This gives her the center of attention. The directors have deliberately set this scene in a dark room and by using the directed beam of the torches; they have been able to create a sense of importance around Trinity.
Voice-overs are not the best way of creating suspense in my opinion but the directors do use it and they do achieve a certain element of suspense using it. One example of the directors using voice-overs is when Trinity jumps across the rooftops. She makes a giant leap and one of the chasing police officers proclaims “that’s impossible” just those two words bring you closer to the screen in anticipation that she might not be able to make it.
Setting and scenery plays a huge part in the creating of suspense and the directors accomplish this very well. A very good example of the use of settings and scenery is when we first see Trinity. This is in a hotel room; it is very and with no distinctive distractions other than Trinity a chair and a laptop. This focuses all attention on where trinity is sitting and on to what she is doing. It is also a very small space that comes into effect when they start fighting as the small space makes the action more intense with only a small space for them to fight in.
Another piece of voice over happens right at the start of the film. A total blackout with just to people talking makes you concentrate more on what they are saying. A character that we don’t know yet says “Morphius believes that he is the one” just this simple piece of dialogue insights us a range of different questions “who is morphius?”, “Who is he?”, “what is the one?” and “who is it who is speaking?”. Even from the start of the of the movie we are being already in the thick of it trying to work out things that we do not even know about.
I feel that the actual plot and dialogue creates the best suspense in the matrix, as without that the other pieces that are used would not make sense. The way that the directors have set out and structured this movie makes it truly brilliant. However, for me it is the plot and the dialogue that separates it from the rest.