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What to know: Radical, uniquely presented look at simulation theory in the digital age - particulary for those that subscribe to the notion that we are all living in the matrix.
Recommended age 14-18
108 minutes
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GLITCH IN THE MATRIX, A cover image Click to play video trailer
A Glitch In The Matrix is a radical, uniquely-presented look at simulation theory in the digital age - specifically, how those who prescribe to the notion that we're all living in a simulation came to those beliefs and how this belief affects their outlook. Dense, but accessible, directed by Rodney Ascher, it's the rare documentary that asks a question it knows it can't answer.

In the late 1970s, famed author Phillip K. Dick, known for his sci-fi stories, gave a talk where he laid out his theory that we are living in a simulation. This becomes the entry point into the maw of simulation theory, its depth only outmatched by its complexity. A Glitch In The Matrix utilizes a famed and celebrated movie as its main frame of reference in exploring its theme -- The Matrix, a film that put simulation theory into the mainstream. Ascher's film investigates where stimulation theory stemmed from, how its tenets and principles have been echoed throughout history by everyone from Plato to Elon Musk to current times.

The conceit of A Glitch In The Matrix can't so much be explored as marveled at, and the possibilities of a simulated reality tinkered with, and so that's exactly what it does. This film boldly depicts this proposed reality entirely through CG animation and clips from popular culture that have dealt with similar ideas. I respect that a film about simulations indulges so heavily in them. For example, many people who speak in the film have their identities shielded by virtual avatars that filter their perspectives, enhancing the feel of a simulation. This method of using simulation techniques in a film about simulation gets very "meta," but, in doing so, adheres to and honors the film's topic and not in a show-offy or self-congratulatory way.

I have respect for any movie that seeks to make you question the world you live in. Socially and politically, A Glitch In The Matrix does that quite literally. If you're looking for a documentary that finds the key to its main topic and deconstructs it bit by bit, this isn't that, but if you're willing to go on a bit of a journey through a school of thought via the lens of a capable filmmaker that challenges what you think about your own reality, sit down, give this a chance and enjoy it. A Glitch In The Matrix is left incomplete almost by design, but somehow that works to its charm.

I give A Glitch In The Matrix 3 out of 5 stars and an age rating of 14 to 18 for some simulated violence and the description of a violent crime. It just premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival, and it will be available in theaters and at home on February 5, 2021.

Reviewed by Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

We have all questioned our existence one way or another in our lives. Am I real? A Glitch in the Matrix explores this question in the most mysterious and heart-pounding way possible. Documentaries can be dry, yet this film is as thrilling as any action movie.

A Glitch in the Matrix sets the entire premise of simulation theory around a speech by famous author Philip K. Dick. This documentary ponders the highly uncharted theory of simulated reality. With a series of interviews, animated cut scenes and references to the movie The Matrix.

While the eyewitnesses may seem, at first glance, irrelevant, as they don't have any professional credibility, their personal real-world experiences creates a sense of relatability, which is much needed for such an obscure subject. Also, as the eyewitnesses are animated it allows their stories to be animated effectively too, granting visual access to their thoughts and words. A Glitch in the Matrix has no plotline per se; however throughout the entire film you feel literal chills. The sound effects and music by Jonathan Snipes create a feeling of total mystery and sinister experiences. Direction by Rodney Ascher, along with 3D character modeling by Maksim Solonovich really demonstrate creativity in all aspects of the production. My favorite part is when Joshua Cooke describes his experience with simulation theory and The Matrix. His experience is well animated and narrated, allowing me to get a sense of what he felt as he went through with such a heinous act.

The message of this film suggests that many are "alive, yet not living." Meaning that this life is finite, and whether simulated or not we should all live it to the fullest. This film does display explicit language, religious content, animated and descriptive violence, brief sexual content and smoking.

A Glitch in the Matrix gets 5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it to mature 14 to 18-year-olds as well as adults. You can watch A Glitch in the Matrix in theatres and everywhere February 5, 2021.

Reviewed by Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

I found myself having a great time while watching A Glitch In The Matrix. This spine-tingling documentary will have you thinking outside the box. The interesting testimonials teemed with well-matching visuals, is a recipe for success. I was pulled in for the entire duration of the film and found myself a tad down when it was over. A Glitch In The Matrix is a truly amazing documentary.

Filmmaker Rodney Ascher directs an amazing documentary with intriguing testimonials from numerous people that believe we are actually living in a simulation. Paul Gude, Jesse Orion and many others share their unique experiences that support the idea of simulation theory. A Glitch In The Matrix raises the question "Are we living in a simulation?"

From the very beginning of this film, I felt very compelled in a chilling and somewhat exciting way. The visuals fit what is being said perfectly. I did not find myself lost at any part, as the documentary is split into well divided sections which helped me understand what they were talking about a little bit more. Another compelling thing are the testimonials from many people. Each of their stories is unique and supports the main message of the film. I started watching this documentary not knowing anything about simulation theory. I surprisingly found myself refreshed and felt like I learned a little bit from watching this film. I loved every second of it. The film had me leaning forward in my seat wanting to watch more.

A Glitch In The Matrix gives the audience a chance to think beyond the normal and challenge them to dive a little deeper into their views of life. Throughout the documentary, you might find yourself drawn into each individual testimonial and eager to know more. Despite the good parts, you should know that there is a small amount of violence and profanity, but there is nothing that is unfitting.

I give A Glitch In The Matrix 4 out 5 stars and recommend it for ages 15 to 18, plus adults. A Glitch In The Matrix is available for rent on Prime Video now.

Reviewed by Hazel A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic age 15

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Documentary filmmaker Rodney Ascher tackles this question "are we living in a simulation?" with testimony, philosophical evidence and scientific explanation in his for the answer.
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