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Color Themes


Visual references to other movies

The Matrix as Love Story

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Cypher's Cell Phone

Is the Oracle a Renegade AI?

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The Blind Man Scene

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Latest thoughts:

I've added a page about a common question: Buying the phone.

It looks like there's a Neuromancer movie in the works.

I have gotten some questions about the clothes worn in the movie, but I don't have any information about that. Does anyone know?


About this site: I haven't included pictures on this site because plenty of other sites already have Matrix pictures. Also, I don't discuss the Christian metaphors in the movie because other sites in this webring already cover that material.


Observations about the movie The Matrix

Note: this page contains "spoilers," so if you haven't seen the movie, you may want to watch it first, then come back and read this.

Order The Matrix on VHS or DVD

Color Themes in The Matrix

This movie uses color themes, where a single color dominates many scenes in the movie. Some other movies I've seen that use this visual technique are The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, and Temptation of a Monk, to name just two. The three main colors (other than black) in the movie, in order of how often they occur are Green, Blue, and Red.


The green color theme starts at the very beginning of the movie, and it is the most often used theme. The green-on-black theme may be a reference to old monochrome computer monitors, which often displayed green on a black background. The original Compaq Portable computer was like this, for example.

Green theme notes:

  • The initial WB logo is a special green and black version, as is the Village Roadshow logo.
  • The start and end titles are green lettering on a black background.
  • The glyphs that appear on the monitors in the Nebuchadnezzar are green on black.
  • Neo's alarm clock shows green letters on a black background.
  • When Morpheus is in the Matrix, he wears a green necktie. When he is in the real world, he doesn't.
  • The wallpaper in the Oracle's apartment is green, and all the walls in that building are painted green.
  • The Oracle's outfit is green.
  • "All of the Exit signs in Neo's city are green, and not the typical red color." -- quoted from Jen's Matrix Site [Note: reader explains that this is the standard color scheme in Sydney, where the movie was filmed, so this is not an "intentional" use of green.]
  • Green seems to be associated with the Matrix. Most scenes in the Matrix use a green theme.
  • Agent Smith's file folder that he brings into the interrogation room is green.
  • Neo's telephone is green. [submitted by]
  • Green may also stand for danger.   The entire opening action
    sequence, where Trinity comes very close to being very dead, is very
    green, as is the interrogation scene, where Neo is bugged.  [submitted by "teasmoke"]
  • During the scene with Thomas on the phone with Morpheus in the Metacortex building, it is the same green of the Xerox machine, like the Matrix is a photocopy of reality. [submitted by ]

The green and black opening title sequence of The Matrix seems influenced by another movie, Ghost in the Shell. In Ghost in the Shell, a Japanese animated movie, green digits on a black background rapidly change and then resolve into the title credit text. (The Matrix does it better, I think, but it is clearly the same idea.) Also, at the beginning of Ghost in the Shell, green wireframe-like graphics on a black background are used to represent cyberspace.

The first computer displays seen in the beginning of the movie Blade Runner (at the police station) also use these "retro" green-on-black displays.


Blue is the second most used color theme.

Blue theme notes:

  • The scenes that take place in the Metacortex building (Neo's office) are blue themed.
  • The delivery guy who gives Neo the cell phone is wearing blue.
  • Scenes inside the Nebuchadnezzar (Morpheus' ship) are blue themed.
  • If Neo had taken the Blue Pill, he would have returned to life in the Matrix without finding out what it really was.
  • There is a blue sign outside the building where the cops are looking for Trinity in the beginning.
  • Blue seems to be associated with the mundane.  "teasmoke" ( says "Blue would appear to stand for slavery in the Matrix.  The office building scenes are blue, and there is the blue pill, which would have returned Neo to slavery."
  • On the Nebuchenezzer, the chairs they sit in to return to the matrix are all faded blue. (


There isn't much Red in the movie. It is used for a few particular things, rather than whole scenes.

  • The Red Pill gives Neo knowledge of the Matrix
  • The Woman in Red appears in the training program, and later Mouse has an autographed picture of her.
  • The chair Morpheus sits in when Neo first meets him is red. Those same red chairs appear later in the "staging area" program with the white background.
  • The scene where Neo wakes up in the pod is mostly red or pink. [suggested by Cyberdolphin:]

Robert King contributes the following analysis:

  • I think you can say that RED would be the color that represents sacrifice for freedom. (RED usually indicates blood --> bloodshed is usually a requirement for freedom)
  • Red pill = freedom
  • Red woman = by longing for the woman in red Neo risks his freedom in taking a second look and almost getting shot by an Agent
  • Red blood = end of the movie, when he bleeds and becomes freed from his mind and becomes "The One"
  • Red "pod" = when he wakes up and sees the red stuff around him, he becomes freed from the enslavement of the Matrix

Yellow Theme?

"teasmoke" ( says that there is a yellow theme, too.  I'm not sure about this, but here is the information so you can make up your own mind:

I think yellow stands for the AIs' control in the Matrix. I'm not sure, as we don't see yellow all that much, but the Agents' jackets have yellow linings, and Neo's did too when he was in the office building. Plus, the scenes with the Agents trying to break Morpheus (the AIs exerting control if they ever do) are yellow-tinted. However, they stop being yellow at all and turn to normal coloration when Neo and Trinity set the sprinklers going with the bomb-- when the Agents aren't in control of the situation any more.

Cyberdolphin( adds that the fight between  Agent Smith and Morpheus in the hotel is yellow.

Allen C. adds the following:

I first noticed that the inner lining of the agents coats was a gold-yellow on my
fourth viewing. So last night on my fifth viewing I was observing this closely.
To my surprise I noticed that Toms coat lining in the corporate setting was
also the same color.

It was at that point that it clicked for me. It was showing the cowardice of
the wearer for being a cog in the System. In Tom's case for playing his part in
the corporate world instead of being his true self. In the case of the agents
for exploiting their superior powers to dominate and bully.

The cinematographer's lecture

"Renee" ( writes:

I went to a lecture given by the cinematographer at Chapmn University in CA and he had something to say about the color themes, which are very real and intentional.  apparently, the movie was shot entirely in either blue or green, using colored lights.  There was a "green" world and a "blue" world, one representing the world inside the matrix and one in the real world.

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Reflections form another visual theme in the movie. Many of these may be seen in the characters' sunglasses. Most of these sunglass-lens reflections are probably digital effects and not "actual" reflections, because they either show things that are in the Matrix, or they are shot from such an angle that a real reflection would show the camera.

During the "woman in red" training sequence, if you look carefully at the reflections in Morpheus' sunglasses, they don't seem to reflect everything that they ought to. Neo's reflection is clearly there, but the background objects and other people seem to have vanished.

Peter McKeon contributes this response:

If you think about this from a technical point of view it makes sense. You can tell that the part where Morpheus freezes the simulation was shot against a coloured background (most likely green as used in the Neo Bullet Time sequence) so that the background & people could be digitally edited in later. Hence there are only three people actually in that room (Morpheus, Neo, and the Agent), which explains why you would only see Neo reflected in Morpheus's sunglasses. With this in mind maybe the other reflections seen throughout the movie are real and not digital effects.

Reflection notes:

  • In the shot of the helicopter flying directly overhead, it seems to approach and then merge into its reflected image in the windows on the side of the building. This foreshadows the destruction of the helicopter after Morpheus is rescued, when it crashes into the side of a building and once again seems to collide with its own reflection.
  • In the Red Pill / Blue Pill scene, one pill is reflected in each sunglass lens.
  • After Neo takes the Red Pill and is connected to the equipment, he sees his own reflection in a cracked mirror, which then becomes a liquid-like surface that he reaches out and touches. The mirrored surface spreads over his body, still reflecting his face and other objects in the room.
  • We see Neo reflected in the silver doorknob outside the Oracle's apartment.
  • Inside the Oracle's apartment, we see both Neo and the child reflected in the spoon that bends.
  • When Neo awakens in the pod, and the strange spiderlike robot approaches him, his face is reflected in the headlight-like probe of the robot.
  • We see Neo being carted out of his office building by the agents in the rear view mirror of a motorcycle, which seconds later we see belongs to Trinity. So, in a sense we are seeing exactly what she was seeing becuase she was looking at the action through the mirror as well.  (contributed by

"teasmoke" ( contributes the following analysis:

I think distorted reflections stand for the real world's interface with and control over the Matrix: Neo is rescued from the Matrix, the real overpowering the dream, through the molten mirror. The Oracle, the resistance's interface with the secrets of the Matrix, has a mirrored doorknob. The bending spoon, demonstrating the awakened’s ability to control the Matrix, reflects the spoon boy's face and Neo's. Lastly, the serum the Agents inject Morpheus with, looking for a controlling interface over his mind, appears quicksilvery, like mercury.

In the chat session with the Wachowski brothers, the following exchange occurs:

ThedrickFel says: What exactly was the mirror made of? Was it the same stuff they injected into Morpheus? Why silver?
WachowskiBros: The mirror is actually a mirror. When Neo sees it it's a hallucination, but it's the direct result of the pill Morpheus had given Neo. Reflections in general are a significant theme in the film. The ideas of worlds within worlds. The idea of the reflection, the two Neo's in Morpheus glasses represents the two lives that Neo is leading. In the left lens, we see the blue pill and Thomas Anderson, and in the right lens, we see the red pill and Neo.

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The Matrix as a Buddhist metaphor

  • The central problem facing humanity in the movie is delusion. Most humans do not understand the illusory nature of the Matrix. Morpheus says:"The Matrix is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth."
  • After Neo realizes the true nature of the Matrix and escapes into the real world, he returns to the Matrix to help liberate others, in the manner of a Bodhisattva.
  • "... it is not the spoon that bends, it is you." (Said by the boy at the Oracle's apartment to Neo.) This (and perhaps other pieces of dialogue, too) seems like an allusion to a famous Zen koan. In the version of the koan I remember reading, three monks are looking at a flag waving in the breeze. The first says, "the flag is moving." The second says, "no, it is the wind that moves." The third says, "no, it is not the flag or the wind, it is your mind that moves." Credit goes to for bringing this to my attention.
  • Awakening: The first message that mysteriously shows up on Neo's screen says "Wake up, Neo." Later Morpheus says, "You have the look of a man who accepts what he sees because he expects to wake up. Ironically, that's not far from the truth." The word "Buddha" means "awakened." (reference) Also, the song that plays over the end credits is called "Wake Up."

In the chat session with the Wachowski brothers, the following exchange occurs:

wrygrass says: Did ideas from Buddhism influence you in making the film?
WachowskiBros: Yes. There's something uniquely interesting about Buddhism and mathematics, particularly about quantum physics, and where they meet. That has fascinated us for a long time.

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Visual References to Other Movies

  • When Neo goes to meet Morpheus, and the characters walk up the stairs, the stairway is shown from above, looking straight down with a dizzying, turning camera angle. This could be a visual reference to Hitchcock's Vertigo.
  • Near the end, when Neo and Smith face off in the subway, the two of them stand there for a moment looking at each other, with their hands hovering at their sides, and a few scraps of newspaper blow across the space between them. The camera angles, poses, and general effects here are a visual reference to High Noon (and other Westerns). The blowing scraps of newspaper may be the equivalent of tumbleweeds.  Reader "FSKarasek" adds that the audio cues here have a strong bond with typical Western gunfight scenes.  "There is the sound of a rising metronome during the standoff scene just before the shootout begins. the sound is like a stick being hit upon a block of wood with a constantly rising tempo, just like you might hear in a Clint Eastwood shootout scene on a dust blown dirt Main Street in an Arizona ghost town."
  • At the end, when Neo and Trinity kiss, sparks fly behind their heads . . . quite literally, because the sentinels are attacking their ship! But this "kiss = fireworks going off" visual image could be interpreted as a reference to corny old romance movies and TV shows.

More Vertigo References? has suggested the following additional references to the movie Vertigo:

The initial chase scene in the Matrix across the rooftops with the cops pursuing Trinity is nearly identical in structure to the first scene in Vertigo, with some shots set up exactly as filmed by Hitchcock.

The elements seeming very similar are:

  • The shot of one of the cops who almost doesn't make the jump from one building to the other (shot looking directly up from below) is practically identical.
  • I think the scene on the roof begins with a shot of Trinity's hands on a ladder? If so, then it's another element that invokes Vertigo.
  • The tin roofs with the sounds of clattering footsteps as they run.

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Other interesting things to look for

  • In the training program fight scene, Morpheus does two obvious moves from Yang style Tai Chi Chuan: "Single Whip" and "White Crane Spreads Wings." There may be more, but those were the easiest to pick out.
  • When Neo is getting downloads of various martial arts programs, one of the programs listed on the screen is "drunken boxing." This is not a joke, though. Drunken Boxing is the name of a real style of Chinese martial arts.
  • When Cypher is seen in the real world his left ear is scarred. In the Matrix, it looks normal and he has an earring.
  • My friend Greg explains: I was amused by the button on the elevator after they clean out the lobby of the government building. There is a clear shot of one of them pressing the up button on the elevator. The button reads "Do not use in the event of a fire." This, of course, precedes the huge fire bomb they are about to drop into the lobby.
  • In the scene where bullet casings can be seen dropping straight down towards the camera from the helicopter, if you look at the building you can see a great deal of water streaming down the side of the building. This is because the sprinkler system has been activated by the bomb.
  • "Neo" is an anagram of "One" as in "The One." Neo also means new, and Neo is the newest member of the group.
  • When the Oracle tells Neo he isn't The One, she says "maybe in your next life." Near the end of the movie, he does briefly die and then come back to life, so technically maybe he is in his "next life" at the very end.
  • At the end, when Neo is being chased by the Agents, he goes into the Heart o' the City hotel, room 303. This is the same room Trinity was in at the very beginning of the movie, so it creates a kind of plot symmetry. The number 303 may be a reference to the real-life computer hacker group "303." Even if not intentional, it is an interesting coincidence.
  • Another symmetry: the movie starts and (nearly) ends with a flashing green cursor on a black background, and the sound of a phone ringing.
  • Rhineheart (Neo's boss) says to him, "The time has come to make a choice, Mr. Anderson. Either you choose to be at your desk on time from this day forth, or you choose to find yourself another job." There is an echo of this later, when the Oracle tells Neo, "you're going to have to make a choice." (i.e. to sacrifice himself or Morpheus)
  • Near the beginning when Neo is at work and following Morpheus' instructions, he goes into one of the offices, opens the window, and steps out onto the ledge. This is kind of weird because windows in giant office buildings usually cannot be opened.
  • When Neo is out on the ledge of the office building, he drops his phone, tries to get it back as it falls but then gives up. As he does this, the phone's fall pauses, then resumes accompanied by the sound effect that occurs whenever a "law" such as gravity is bent. This may foreshadow his ability to control the Matrix. [Contributed by "Paulus" ( Note: the shot of the falling phone also is echoed near the end in the shot of Cypher's phone falling into the garbage can.]   Dubois suggests that the real reason for this pause is so that the audience can read the brand name on the phone.  It is hidden advertising.
  • In the interrogation room, Agent Smith tells Neo he has been living "two lives" and that one of these lives has a future and the other does not, but he doesn't say which one. He turns out to be right, although it is the normal life as Thomas Anderson that doesn't have a future, and the life as Neo that does, probably the opposite of what he (the Agent) meant to say. [suggested by]
  • The Blind Man Scene.
  • The Oracle never says that Neo wouldn't be the one, Neo says it by himself. The Oracle looks at him and his hands and he says "I'm not the one" and the Oracle just says "I'm sorry," which doesn't mean that the Oracle confirms what Neo said. This is quite interesting, because Neo always says "The Oracle told me that I'm not the one" after his chat with the Oracle, I guess this means that Neo is like the Oracle said: "not too bright though..." [submitted by]
  • In the scene where Morpheus is being interrogated, he has blood and cuts on his face, and as he runs towards the helicopter to escape, it looks like he is shot in the leg.   After he exits the helicopter, he has no blood on his face and for the rest of the movie his leg seems fine.  This is either a continuity error in the movie, or it shows that Morpheus can use his control over the Matrix to heal his body.  [Info submitted by "Neo" ]
  • In the car after Neo is bugged, Switch calls Neo a "copper top", as in a Duracell battery. [Submitted by Chris Hajny]
  • In the beginning during the voice-over, Cypher mentions that Neo bought a box of Captain Crunch. This could be a reference to the legendary phone phreak/hacker Captain Crunch or the Captain Crunch whistle that sounded at exactly 2600 Hz, the pitch used to seize switching networks. [submitted by "LordTyran" ]
  • When we are first introduced to Neo, his hacker friend says "Hallelujah. You are my savior, man. My own personal Jesus Christ."  And, in essence, Neo is the savior for all mankind still trapped inside the Matrix.  [submitted by HANK2484 ]
  • Neo's boss at the software company tells him, "You believe that you are special, that somehow the rules do not apply to you.  Obviously you are mistaken."   Actually, this foreshadows that he is the One and that the rules of the matrix will not apply to him, so it is his boss who is mistaken.  [suggested by ]
  • Visually, the water running down glass in a few scenes (the metacortex office windows, the rear windows of the car where Neo is "debugged) appears quite similar to the scrolling matrix code we see many times.  (
  • In the scene where Neo is sitting in his cubicle (mysteriously staring blankly at the computer screen) a Fed Ex delivery person enters. As he hands Neo the package, there is an unidentified resting hand ( URH ) on the table behind him. It can't be the delivery man's hand because it is too far away and both of the delivery persons' hands are filled. It can't be Neo's hand because it is in the wrong place and facing the wrong direction. It appears to be a left hand, and wearing a wristwatch or wrist band. Note: this is only visible on the VHS version of the Matrix. I could not see it on the DVD. [Thanks to Amy C. and Jessie B. for being the first to spot this.]
  • Another mysterious foreshadowing is when the "hacker friend" comes to see Neo. When he comments on how Neo looks stressed and needs some "r and r" he says that Neo needs to "unplug" and this is exactly what he does! Neo is truly "unplugged" from the Matrix later in the pod scene. [Contributed by Amy C. and Jessie B.]
  • At the very end, when Neo is running from the Agent, he runs right through an apartment (near 2:00:25 on the DVD). In the living room we see an old woman sitting in a chair. Neo then runs through the kitchen, and there is another old woman standing by the sink. If you look closely, these two women appear to be the same person (or twins).
  • In the lobby scene, Neo is shown firing two submachineguns, one in each hands, at the guards. The viewer can clearly see the supposed cartridge casings ejected from the submachineguns falling towards the floor, but upon closer inspection they are incorrect. The shells are much too long to be anything but rifle-caliber casings, yet clearly the magazine of the weapon is not large enough to house bullets of such a size (submachineguns use shorter pistol-caliber bullets.) Clearly, the producers decided to substitute more impressive-looking casings to "spice up" the falling-cartridge shot to the viewer. [this idea was first reported by, later confirmed and written up by]  
  • adds to the above, "The smg's he uses are 9mm, and the casings are 5.56x45mm."
  • The sunglasses the agents are wearing have square lenses and the rebels have rounded lenses.  When they go to see the Oracle, Cypher's sunglasses have square lenses, too. I look at the rounded lenses as being organic and the square lenses being mechanical, with Cypher joining the mechanical side. [contributed by]
  • When Neo is running between cubicles in his office near the beginning of the movie, he runs past an office worker who is making photocopies.  But the guy is making copies while the lid of the copier is still up (which tends to make for really poor copies).   You can see the light coming up from under the glass.  This all goes by very quickly while Neo is running past.  I've verified this in the VHS version of the movie, but I haven't checked the DVD.  [This idea was contributed by Amy C. and Jessie B.]

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musings from

"Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to Awaken immediately. The Way is set. You are the One.

First there was "Brother sun, Sister moon," and the Call to follow Christ was apparent. The Melody of the forgotten Song was stirred. Then followed "Groundhog Day" and the loop of time and the change of purpose needed for Escape was revealed. Then there was "Dark City" and the underpinnings of a world of projection were exposed as the constructed false memories of misdirected mind--though when turned right side up, only Light and Love and Innocence remain as Reality. The "Truman Show" revealed what Shakespeare had foreshadowed: all the world's a stage, though Divine Mind must see it can play no "part." The contrived world of control and product placement was seen as a set and the show is effectively over when it is no longer believed as real. "Good afternoon, good evening, and good night!" to illusions and dreams.

And now there is "The Matrix:" a composite of all that has been revealed in a parable of going entirely beyond the fabric of the dream to total
Awakening -- You are the One! This parable you know. A metaphysical masterpiece of the transcendence of belief. The Christ Mind which seemed
to give rise to belief must inevitably see the unreality of belief and recognize the Single Reality of "Know ThySelf" in God Eternally. Thank God
for the Awakening to, in, and as Oneness!!! "

Movie Review : "The Matrix: God Is in the Details"
Entertainment Weekly: May 7, 1999
By Lori L. Tharps

"So you thought the only thing 'The Matrix' had to offer was spectacular F/X and 115 minutes to ogle Keanu Reeves. Well, think again. The sci-fi thriller is a veritable "Where's Waldo" of religious and mythological symbolism. You missed that, you say? We understand -- after all, Carrie- Anne Moss' butt-kicking leather ensembles were a bit distracting. But here is everything you need to decode 'The Matrix.'

THE ONE In Christian theology: Jesus Christ is the Messiah who saves mankind from its sins. Christ translates from Hebrew into 'Anointed One.'
In the movie: Reeves plays Neo, supposedly 'the One' who will lead mankind out of computer-generated bondage. An anagram of Neo is One.

MORPHEUS In Greek mythology: Morpheus is the god of dreams. In the movie: Morpheus is the leader of rebel forces who fights to awaken enslaved masses from a dreamlike reality.

ZION In the Book of Revelation: Zion is the kingdom of God where the righteous will be saved after the destruction of the earth. In the movie:
With earth destroyed, Zion is the only city where humans are free.

NEBUCHADNEZZAR In the Bible: Nebuchadnezzar was a Babylonian king who searched for the meaning of his dreams. In the movie: Morpheus
names his ship Nebuchadnezzar and visits an oracle to interpret reality -- really a dream.

THE TRAITOR In the Bible: Judas, one of the 12 trusted apostles, betrays Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. In the movie: The traitor is Cypher (think
'Lucifer'), one of Morpheus' seven trusted crew members. He betrays Morpheus for a steak dinner.

THE RESURRECTION In the Bible: Jesus dies on the cross, but returns three days later, proving he is indeed 'the One.' It's a miracle now celebrated as Easter. In the movie: Neo experiences a similar fate, but it's likely we'll celebrate with a sequel."


Trinity Infinity  A page devoted to Trinity.

Allen C.'s page on Knowledge Titles and The Matrix

Order The Matrix on VHS or DVD

The Script of The Matrix

Essay: a viewer's reaction to The Matrix

The Matrix: Step Into the REAL World

About the sunglasses in the movie

Another sunglasses link

Highly recommended book: Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner Though this book is not about "The Matrix," it provides an in-depth, behind-the scenes look at the making of a science fiction movie. Reading this changed the way I watch SF movies.

Quotes from The Matrix

Comments on The Matrix and some aspects of Eastern philosophy

Cyberspace - The New Jerusalem

The Matrix, Dark City, and The American Religious Desire This is a good, thought-provoking essay.

Jen's Matrix

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