Neo is a nutcase

I've just watched The Matrix for the third or fourth time, and as I was pondering the idea behind the movie, I suddenly realized that there was a way in which I hadn't looked at the film yet that seemed to make a lot of sense. The idea is this:

Thomas Anderson is mentally ill.

He is suffering from an extreme case of paranoid schizophrenia, and he has created an alternate reality for himself that he frequently retreats into. As the movie progresses, a Messianic, heroic self-image is added to the psychotic cocktail, and at the end of the movie, Neo has lost all sense of reality.

There's a great many unanswered questions in the movie that would be explained by this reading. For example, who is Thomas Anderson really? Who are his friends? Where is his family? Why does he, as Trinity puts it, sit behind his computer all night? If he's insane, it's because his erratic character turned him into an extreme nerd who avoids all social contact. And so, desperate and alone, he creates an escape from the reality that he very obviously finds dreary and pointless. Think about it. How did Neo find out about Morpheus? Who told him about The Matrix, and what did he hear that made him want to find out what it was? The answer: the Matrix and Morpheus are constructs of Neo's diseased mind.

But there's more. Neo's fantasy world is not even consistent. Events in the beginning of the movie (the instruction to follow the white rabbit, the scene with the FedEx'd cell phone ringing just as Neo gets it out) seem to imply that Morpheus and his gang have very advanced knowledge about what goes on in the Matrix. Later on, however, that control seems fairly limited. The electronic 'bug' that plunges into Neo's navel, too, is quite consistent with delusional paranoia ('they put transmitters in my teeth').

Note also that Neo never meets anyone (friend nor foe) who questions his belief in The Matrix, and that his new and only comrades (all products of his delusional mind) reinforce the idea that 'the outside world wouldn't understand'. And to top it all off, the hot girl falls for him, leather fetish included, and he saves the universe. No, Neo is ready for the funny farm, clear and simple. I just wonder why it hadn't occurred to me before.

Posted by cronopio at 02:06 AM, November 05, 2003