Story: The documentary features from Rodney Ascher have been beyond thought provoking, hitting a level of unsettling reality that can make you rethink your perspective on the subject matter, a trend that continues with A Glitch in the Matrix. The concept that life as we know it is just a simulation has been around for a long time, but when The Matrix was released, it rocketed the theory into the mainstream and it has remained often discussed since. Plenty of other sources have examined the theory and made claims however, including Philip K. Dick during a very unusual and again, unsettling, question and answer session that should be seen to be believed. In A Glitch in the Matrix, the major influences on the theory’s continued life are examined, from The Matrix and Dick to scientists and researchers, as well as a few deep believers who make their case. Do we live in a simulation and if so, is this documentary a call to arms or just an in joke from whoever runs the program?
Entertainment Value: As someone with a deep interest in simulation theory, I had a blast with A Glitch in the Matrix and while I can see where some of the criticisms come from, but I appreciated this piece and didn’t mind the use of avatars in the central interviews. I do agree with those who wanted to see more science, philosophy, or rebuttals from those in professional, related fields, as that would have been informative and given some added legitimacy, perhaps. Even so, the talking heads we are given offer some good perspectives and experiences, including the main interviewees, who are hidden beneath digital avatar costumes. This bothered some viewers quite a bit, as they felt disconnected from the speakers, but given that the topics discussed were very personal, I don’t think the anonymity is a concern at all. You can discount them as experts, but they’re not presented as such, so its just whether you find value or entertainment in their personal stories, which I did.
In addition to the newly minted interviews, this documentary has a good collection of archival material, most of which is quite interesting. The Philip K. Dick segments are fantastic and for those interested in simulation theory, can be a jumping off point to research after the credits. Dick’s comments are eerie, even dark, but fit into the simulation theory well, which of course makes some of his statements all the more terrifying, at least to me. Fans of The Matrix will appreciate the time devoted to the franchise’s help in elevating the theory’s popularity, though it does have a dark current, in a brief true crime thread that unfolds within A Glitch in the Matrix. The presentation is kinetic, colorful, and captivating, with some interesting animation used to bring some of the stories to life, which combines with the archival footage to make pretty much the entire duration intriguing. I am biased as a simulation theory fan, but I could watch this over and over, so it gets a high recommendation.