The Matrix by Lana & Lilly Wachowski
Numbered Shooting Script. 133 pages. Dated March 1998
The action spectacular that needs no introduction (but let’s give it one anyway, just to be polite). A genre mashup that combines the color-shifted visual stylings of the Wachowskis and the gravity bending action sequences of a great anime. The reluctant hero, the thumping soundtrack, the bullet-time effect; The Matrix redefined action movies as we exited the 20th century. For anyone that wants to write action, reading this was a no-brainer. So, what do we get?
The PDF I read claims to be the shooting script. Comparing it to the final product, I believe it. The dialogue, the action, everything lines up perfectly with the theatrical release (of course, it could have been cleaned up after the fact). Only one plotline was cut as far as I could tell (which we’ll get to later). Since the Wachowskis were writing AND directing the film, this isn’t a huge surprise. They had a clear vision and it shows on the page.
Right off the bat, the vivid descriptions stand out. Letters on a screen are “shimmering like green electric rivers.”