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Films About a Glitch in the Matrix

A Deja Vu is a glitch in the Matrix. What a great concept. Now we all know what the Matrix was (if you do not then maybe a movie review site and page of this title is a step too far). A glitch in the Matrix is any event that is not linear to the world as we know it and defies known logical scientific explanation. It usually affects time, life, reality, or perception.

So here are some examples of movies where the plot is based on a "glitch" in what, by the Wachowski's definition is, The Matrix.


Yesterday: 2019 Dir: Danny Boyle

A two-pronged approach at conception of this little... (I have searched my mind and thesaurus and cannot think of a noun). One way is to call it a gross over-simplification of something that was massive, created by four men that busted their humps working 24 hours a day to perfect and became precious to millions into a magic trick that could be repeated by one guy, no band, and he could do it with only a vague memory of what the songs were like. Plus ignoring factors like time, tastes, musical chronology, and influences. Cute that they had Oasis not existing but what about ELO? What about other bands heavily influenced by the Beatles?

Another way is to call it a glitch in the Matrix. The lead character has an accident and it causes a surge of electricity (the reason we exist still in The Matrix) and when he awakes, certain things have been wiped from history and the collective memories of (almost) everyone. One could say that the glitch is that he, and a few others, remember it (spoiler alert) and that the machines screwed up on a simple purge. This may help make it more watchable. Anyone needs a backing percussion track, play this movie, the noise of John and George turning in their graves should give some bass.

The Butterfly Effect 2004 Dir: Eric Bress

This non-linear mind-blowing concept movie featuring the non-thinking man's Josh Hartnett, Ashton Kutcher, deals with a dice-throwing multi-reality set off by the main character reading part of his adolescent journal. Some would say that this explanation, while supernatural and illogical, removes it from actually being a glitch in the Matrix because it has a cause. That is not to be ignored but this is my list, not theirs.

This movie was unfairly panned. It was no great, but the revealing of Eric Stoltz as a child molester and the reason Kelso and all of his friends fell out being the accidental killing of a baby, is clever and calculated. It was entertaining and does get more negative feedback than it deserves. As alluded to, this is the weakest entry in the Matrix sense because it is not clear cut, but the fact that the main character, Evan, can alter this effect and even remove it shows it is not controlled by anything and can be amended, and it is THAT that makes it a glitch in the Matrix.

Being John Malkovich 1999 Dir: Spike Jonze

One of the most uncomfortable, bizarre, imaginative, and hilarious films ever. The horrible idea of working on half a floor, the grotty, unsatisfying life led by the protagonist, John Cusack, and his wife, Cameron Diaz (not a glamour vehicle for either) If you have read our Gangs of New York review you will know we are not Diaz fans here. Nothing changes. This movie though, you can smell the animals in the apartment, the Fight Club-style filming of dark and grimy cityscape for external shots make this movie have a feel of its own and what a credit to Spike Jonze it is. We have not even got to the weird bit yet.

The hatchway in his office leads into John Malkovich's head. Yes, so without explaining more, this film is a definite glitch in the Matrix, inexplicable and totally illogical and it blows reality to pieces. Schwartz (Cusack) profits from the hatch by renting out Malkovich for 15 minutes a time for a high fee. It gets bizarre (clearly) and is full of wonderful scenes. None more so than in the disturbingly trippy scene where Mr Malkovich himself has a go. Watch it to see. Note the thrown can at his head by a passing driver was totally planned and in no way random and some passer by doing it. That would be too far-fetched!

Sliding Doors 1998 Dir: Peter Howitt

Featuring possibly the most unlikable woman working in Hollywood today, Gwyneth Paltrow as a woman who is trodden on by life. She is in a deadbeat relationship with a philandering bloke from In the Name of the Father, and a dead-end job. Then she goes to catch a tube and misses it as the doors close, yet a parallel version of her catches the train. This version gets home, catches her man cheating, meets a new beau and becomes a better person, the other does not. Either way lots of scenes of her looking and wondering and thinking and being. It ruins what is actually a good movie by premise. John Hannah is irritating as hell as the over annoying Monty Python-impersonating (you see!) romantic growth. A cracking idea ruined by saccharine sentimentality and mistaking staged idiocy for banter.

Still it qualifies as a glitch as it splits up time and divides reality. Take my word for it though. It is shite.

Donnie Darko 2001 Dir: Richard Kelly

A triumph that is pretty much one of the most impossible films to grasp in one viewing, but it is no challenge to watch again. Jake Gyllenhaal is perfect as an uncomfortable yet uber smart Donnie Darko, an emotionally damaged thirty-year-old teen who falls in love and has to use portals only he can see to rectify his reality and also a giant rabbit. With a hilarious turn by Beth Grant as the hilariously absurd conservative teacher, Miss Farmer, and Maggie G when she was unspeakably attractive, as well as the late Patrick Swayze as the motivational jerk in Donnie’s sights, if you have not seen it, while it is very date-stamped, it is a cinematic masterpiece. Time travel, event-reversal, and like I say, a gigantic rabbit (he is called Frank by the way). The glitch in the Matrix is mostly in Donnie’s ability to see things humans are just not meant to see and to use these things to change reality. Watch it, do not watch the sequel. Think Rosemary’s Baby 2 and Star Wars Holiday Special

Groundhog Day 1993 Dir: Harold Ramis

The textbook example of a glitch, something that will not move on, keeps buffering, stuck in the same place. This is exactly the problem for cynical world-weary acerbic weatherman Phil Connors when he travels to Punxsutawney in Pennsylvania to witness the annual Groundhog festival which he has nothing for disdain for. The blizzard he told everyone would not hit, hits and he has to stay another night.

He awakes to the same day, the same events, day after day after day. He kills, dies, robs, learns, and slowly realises his task is to be a better man and he slowly learns that deeds are not what makes a better person, it is why they do them. I know it sounds sentimental; it is not. One of the best comedies of all time. Definitely the best glitch in the Matrix comedy of all time


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