A Death Scene Examined
by Paul Martin
I’ve heard a lot of flak from people complaining about a particular death scene in The Matrix Revolutions. For one, it is too long, for another, it’s cheesy. Well, I’m going to try to relate to you the reason why the length was important, both physically, and mentally, and why it was necessary.
When Trinity was stabbed, it was just that, a stabbing. All of the conduits were stuck in her, and she was bleeding to death. But that would take a while anyway, so physically she was able to stay conscious for a long time.
Watching the death scene is very heart wrenching for a few reasons. First of all, she’s a main character that we’ve known since the first scene in “The Matrix” which came out back in 1999. We spent four years with Trinity, and when The Matrix Reloaded came out, we had more time to get to know Trinity. That’s about five hours, not to mention the Matrix Revisited and the Animatrix, and Enter the Matrix.
Now, we’ve grown attached to her. We want her to survive, to have Neo, and to live on.
At the end of Reloaded, she died, or nearly did. Neo came to her rescue, but after that, they didn’t have much more time to spend together. She knew that she had something to tell him, that she hadn’t before.
Expressing yourself to someone, your feelings and all, puts you in a very vulnerable spot, and depending on the person’s reaction, you can either make them feel great, or terrible, with just one word. Trinity was human, she shares those fears. She hadn’t yet told Neo how she feels about him.
She watched him for an undisclosed amount of time. They set him free, and six months later she’s falling to her death. After Neo comes to her rescue, they don’t have much time. They exit the Matrix and the Neb is destroyed. Neo destroys sentinels with a thought, and finds himself at the train station. Trinity comes to his rescue, fighting for him.
She fights for Morpheus in the first film, and wants to fight for Neo by the end. She fights for Neo in the second film, and is nearly killed. And she fights for Neo, yet again, but is still unable to tell him what she wants to. Neo has to spend time alone, meditating on the words of the Oracle. Finally, they are about packed and ready to go, the other hovercraft leaves, and they can’t get going. Trinity goes to check the engine, and Bane attacks. Neo fights and kills Bane, but loses his vision in the process. Trinity pilots the ship, and they begin to head for Zero-One. Neo directs her where to go, and tells her how beautiful everything is that he is seeing with his new vision. They are approaching the city when they are attacked, and Neo begins to destroy the attacking machines, but becomes overwhelmed in the process. They fly up into the sky above the black clouds, and end up falling back down. They finally reach Zero-One, and crash land, which leads us to…the death scene.
Neo wakes up, and crawls over to her impaled body. She has one chance. One last time that she can tell him everything. The first chance that she had. She told him that she wasn’t able to tell him before, but that she wanted him to know, and this was her second chance. She needed to tell him now.
We, as an audience, need that death scene. If the crash had simply killed her, it would have been a total cop-out, and we’d have cried out for blood. She needed a proper death scene, one that gave us time to say goodbye to her. By this time, we should be grateful that we were given that moment. It was probably a single minute, maybe 2 minutes long, but to Neo, no length of time was long enough to say goodbye.
This is how we would feel about our own loved ones. We love them and we want the chance to say how we feel, even though we don’t think that we can.
Mentally, Trinity was in a weakened state. Losing so much blood was making it hard for her to stay awake, and she had to force herself to speak every word. Did it take a long time? Yes, and rightly so. Had she spat it all out fast, it would have been unrealistic.
To those who actually cared for the characters, this scene was heartfelt. It hits home and you find yourself in a very uncomfortable state. Perhaps people are too ashamed to admit it, but what she was doing makes people feel vulnerable or weak. And seeing a hero of ours in a weakened and dying state, and not being able to do anything about it, reaches into your soul and says “I wish this didn’t have to happen.”
We hate to see our heroes fall. When “The Death of Superman” happened years ago, people were moved to tears. A hero had fallen. He’d given his life to protecting everyone, and asked nothing in return, and he’d died in the course. Trinity was giving herself to bring freedom to the people of Zion. She, too, died in the course of her actions. Always, she gave herself, and fought so that others might live and fight another day. She asked for nothing in return. She found love. She had something special for a time. She was finally able to really express that love with words, and this is hard for us, as a viewer to watch.
Why is it hard to watch though? Because, we’ve suffered with her, struggled with her, and fought with her, and now we can do nothing to help her. This leaves us in a very emotional state. We all react to things in different ways. Some feel so uncomfortable about their own emotions that they’ll try to distract themselves and others to try and show that they feel secure. Some feign boredom, when they wish they too could say the same thing. Some don’t feel many emotions anyway, and look at crying as a weakness. Some just look at it, and see it for what it is: A very honest and beautiful scene. The final moments for two people who loved each other and died for each other.