Movie Review: A Glitch in the Matrix10th February 2021
Diving deep into the tinfoil hat-wearing madness that can be found on social media sites across the internet, A Glitch in the Matrix is either the slyest mockumentary ever created or a damningly stupid response to conspiracy nuts and forums. Either way, Rodney Ascher’s documentary does not get out of this one looking like anything more than a cataloguing of memes and nobodies discussing the big questions of life. Are we inside of a computer? Are we just a thought process from some larger, robotic entity? Probably not, no, and even if we were, there’s nothing you can do about it. That is all that needs to be said on this nonsense, but A Glitch in the Matrix pushes its luck and tries to delve deeper into the shallow pool that is the ever-present philosophical wonder, “are we living in a simulation?”.
A collection of talking heads disguised in shoddy-looking CGI hope to avoid the embarrassment of speaking so openly about this. What many consider a grand question worthy of merit and intellectual debate is boiled down and deep-fried in a fascination with the work of Philip K. Dick and a glorious love letter to his craft. Nothing more comes to fruition, there are no other moments of real interest beyond this. Even this is tangible. Considering the two examples of simulation theory presented are “the work of a fiction writer” and “The Matrix”, it is rather clear to see that the documentary is running with scissors. Disaster is inevitable, which is a shame because a non-fiction product conversing with serious, philosophical figures would be much better than the Reddit, social media fanboy orientation of A Glitch in the Matrix.
Frustration turns into nothing more than that, though, Ascher fails to move past the concept that simulation theory is more than cannon fodder for media and art. A love of art is one thing, but to be so deeply rooted and unmoving in the idea that simulation theory can only be viewed through the lens of a camera or the button prompts of a controller is a severely short-sighted view of events. Because of this closed-mindedness, it is hard to engage with those interviewed for this documentary. Beyond the YouTube clips and Twitter interviews, anonymous nobodies voice their opinions on a question that needs real discussion from professionals, not from whoever was willing to sacrifice a spare hour of their day.
This lack of professionalism does indeed make it difficult to take A Glitch in the Matrix seriously. Anyone can say anything about everything, and the crucial flaw in Ascher’s work here is that he trusts those people. Those that are caught detailing their belief in simulation theory present their evidence without a hint of irony or humour. Empty locations are, apparently, one such example of this horrible idea of being trapped in a simulation. As a commercial product, A Glitch in the Matrix does not quite understand which audience it would like to appease. An obganiate nature overwhelms the product, which tries to appeal to the sheltered thoughts of social media and the wider audience of those out there who, most likely, just don’t care.