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Friday June 22nd 2018

The Matrix | 1999

The Matrix location:  Westin Hotel, Sydney
The Matrix location: Neo’s team is ambushed in the old hotel: Westin Hotel, Sydney | Photograph: wikimedia / Sardaka

Although the city of the Matrix is never specified, the street names of this hi-hi-hi-tech thriller implies that it’s set, like the Wachowskis’ previous movie, Bound, in their hometown  of Chicago. Hence the references to ‘the Loop’, the Windy City’s downtown district. But, also like Bound, it wasn’t filmed there.

Interiors were shot in the Fox Studio at Moore Park, Lang Road in Sydney, where Star Wars: Episodes II and III, and Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge were shot.

The futuristic metropolis is the city of Sydney itself, mainly around the central business district.

It’s a little to the northwest, at Miller’s Point, west of the southern entrance to Sydney Harbour Bridge, that you’ll find the site of the phone box at ‘Wells and Lake’, where Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) narrowly escapes being crushed by Agent Smith’s truck, beneath the overpass on Hickson Road at Towns Place, though most of the surrounding buildings have been redeveloped.

The Training Programme area, where Neo (Keanu Reeves) gets momentarily distracted by the woman in red as Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) attempts to explain the complexities of the Matrix, is by the circular fountain on pedestrianised Martin Place at Pitt Street, in the heart of Sydney’s business district – which you might recognise again as ‘Metropolis’ in Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns.

The Matrix location:  Forty One Restaurant, Chifley Tower, Sydney
The Matrix location: Cypher meets up with Agent Smith over a virtual steak: Forty One Restaurant, Chifley Tower, Sydney

“I know this steak doesn’t exist.” muses Cypher (Joe Pantoliano) as he cuts a deal with Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving). But it did, though you can no longer verify that, since their meeting place, Forty One Restaurant, Level 41, Chifley Tower, 2 Chifley Square, just to the northeast of the fountain, has closed. The restaurant slowly revolved, giving terrific views are terrific, so let's see what replaces it.

Neo’s band is ambushed by agents in what was the old General Post Office, alongside the Martin Place fountain, where the ‘deja vu’ cat points up a glitch in the Matrix. Want to stay there? The post office building has been spruced up and is now the Westin Hotel, 1 Martin Place.

Further east on Martin Place, on the northeast corner of Elizabeth Street, is the Colonial State Bank Centre, 52 Martin Place, which becomes the government building in which Morpheus is held captive by Smith.

Trinity is programmed to fly a copter and takes off from a rooftop in front of the Aon Tower, 201 Kent Street, at Napoleon Street, to the west.

She flies over the AWA Building (the white radio mast, once the tallest building in Australia) at 47 York Street.

Morpheus and Neo land on the roof of the Allianz Building (which was then the MMI Centre), 2 Market Street between Sussex and Kent Streets, while Trinity’s ’copter carries on across Market to crash into the BT Tower, 1 Market Street.

The underground train station, where Neo battles Agent Smith, was filmed on a section of railtrack which used to serve the Glebe Island Silos, now-disused wheat storage facilities built in the ’20s at White Bay, on the Balmain side of the Anzac Bridge.

Neo makes a final call to the machines from a phonebox on the southeast corner  of Pitt and Hunter Streets at O’Connell Street, a block north of Martin Place.