This essay discusses the ideological articulations in the film The Matrix, in order to understand how social and economic structures are represented and reinforced in the mass media today. An ideological analysis of The Matrix reveals the characteristic of "acceptable" representation of existing social, economic and political structures portrayed covertly and overtly in American mass media. More specifically, a thorough examination of The Matrix exposes elements of colonialism, including themes of free will and social hierarchy. .
An example of an overt ideology articulated in The Matrix is the idea of control and free will. The premise of movie involves machines enslaving humans and harvesting human body heat for energy. In The Matrix, human bodies are held captive in an oval compartment that similarly imprisons their minds by connecting them into "The Matrix". I believe that the control of humans by computers in the film serves as a metaphor for societal control and expresses the importance of individualism/free will in present day society. This metaphor serves to illustrate the dangers of a society controlled by a system of government that keeps its inhabitants oppressed without being able to think autonomously. This is sort of control is seen throughout the movie in the form of the sinister looking government agents with whom Neo is constantly at odds with and fighting. In the movie, individuals who have freed themselves from the Matrix face yet another system of control in the form of drones attacking Zion. The Matrix can therefore be seen as a movie about Neo's defiance of imposed control systems. .
Free will is another example of overt ideology that is present in The Matrix. Free will relates to the theme of control and colonialism as it allows Neo and individuals within the Matrix to free themselves from it. For instance, it is important that Neo chooses freely between taking the red or the blue pill.