Podcast – Red Pill or Blue Pill

Marking two decades of The Matrix franchise and the release of the fourth film in the series – The Matrix Resurrections, CinePunked ponder the deeper meanings of Lana Wachowski’s new film, including its religious and binary symbolism, and the blurring of lines between what’s real and constructed.

Sleeve notes are below.

With Robert JE Simpson, Ben Simpson and Neil Sedgewick.

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Episode URL: https://player.whooshkaa.com/episode?id=949636

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Ben made the suggestion that we should cover the fourth film in The Matrix franchise ahead of its release in December 2021 – arguing that its symbolism and importance within film history should stimulate conversation for the CinePunked team (and possibly also playing into his interests in computer games). Not having really indulged beyond the first film, I okayed the idea and collectively we set about a rewatch of the series ahead of the cinematic release of The Matrix Resurrections.

With its religious allegories, Neil Sedgewick (he of Films & Faith branding) seemed an appropriate third wheel – and my gosh, the symbolism of the entire Matrix plotting provided fuel for a leisurely, lengthy and ponderous conversation between the three of us.

I’ve largely left the episode as recorded – this is considerably longer than we had intended, but this was already a remount. In the first session we’d started exploring disparate ideas, but the whole didn’t quite hang in the way it should, and we run out of time owing to the logistics of a back-to-back record with our Targets episode. We’d collectively agreed though that the film was trying to send a message, and so, armed with a certain familiarity and awareness of a message in place, we went back in, watched the film again and sat down for our discussion.

Between the sessions we covered the Christ parallels, binary existence, duality, representations of self, perception, and the blurring of lines between worlds. Over three hours of conversation that just wouldn’t fit in a podcast.

There is acknowledgement too of the trans-allegory reading that the Wachowski’s have endorsed for the film, but we have to acknowledge that as three non-trans men, we are not the people to thoroughly explore that reading. Instead, we’ve tended to come at it from some of the other social-political readings that the film presents as possibilities – one thing is certain, The Matrix is not a single dimensional approach, it supports many different takes, and I hope our conversation might prompt others.

Several snippets of conversation from the aborted session were not repeated in the second, and when I get a chance, I’ll add some of these in clip form to our YouTube channel – and hopefully a video version of this pod. We’ve not used YouTube as an outlet for much before now, but we’re hoping to change that this year. 

Towards the end of the conversation we mention the Ryan Reynolds film Free Guy (in fact, I’d intended to draw parallels between the two films throughout, but when the conversation stayed focussed on The Matrix Resurrections I had to cut it from the intro in the edit!). We’ll be doing a follow up in the next few episodes, looking at it specifically – because when two major studio productions dealing in similar topics are released within months of each other, something is at play.

For regulars, Red Pill or Blue Pill harkens back to our episode on Labyrinth with its Alice in Wonderland borrowings, and indeed, you’ll also perhaps find a connection to the previous episode on Targets… Once again, a theme has inadvertently emerged linking a bundle of episodes.

This is also another of the San Francisco films I’m so fond of (I’ve been threatening to write a book on these) – with the bulk of filming taking place in the city. Purely coincidental, but some of you might be following these by loose topic.

As ever, do get in touch with us with your thoughts. And apologies in advance for the epic length!


The episode contains audio clips (used within fair use provision) from three different trailers for The Matrix Resurrections, distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. They provide a flavour of the new film – do see it in cinemas if you can. 

The Matrix Resurrections is currently in cinemas worldwide, distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. In the US it is available to stream via HBO Max.


The CinePunked theme music is ‘Riding the Synth‘ – © 2020, Ben Blademan Simpson. Used with permission.   

Episode recorded via Zoom in Comber, Dundonald and Newtownards, Northern Ireland on 15 January 2022. 

Engineered and edited by Robert JE Simpson. First published on 21 January 2022.




Official trailer for The Matrix Resurrections

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