'The Matrix' Fans Just Noticed a Glaring Mistake on Keanu Reeves' Face

The Matrix has been one of the most analyzed movies ever made. After 22 years, some fans have just found a glaring mistake on a shot of Keanu Reeves in the film. Reeves returns in The Matrix Resurrections, and the original 1999 film has been re-released in IMAX and on 4K UHD. Here’s the mistake viewers are just now spotting. 

The Keanu Reeves scene ‘The Matrix’ messed up

The Matrix introduced groundbreaking visual effects to Hollywood. Bullet time allowed the camera to swivel on a frozen moment, reflecting the characters manipulating the matrix. The film also introduced Hong Kong style wirework martial arts to Hollywood, only in Hollywood they could actually erase the wires digitally. Those effects were seamless. It was a more common effect that created the error. 

In the scene where Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) gives Neo (Reeves) the red pill, Neo touches a mirror. The reflective service attaches itself to Neo’s finger, working its way up his arm and eventually consuming him. This ultimately leads Neo to wake up in his birthing pod, where Morpheus’s ship, the Nebuchadnezzar, rescues him and teaches him about the matrix. The morphing mirror harkens back to early CGI in The Abyss and Terminator 2, so artists had had plenty of practice with it. But this is where viewers spotted a mistake. 

The Keanu Reeves mistake eagle eyed viewers spotted

A reddit user posted on Nov. 29 that he noticed something on Reeves’ face in the scene. 

“I just realized that the VFX crew from The Matrix drew points on Keanu’s face with a marker pencil for CGI tracking purposes,” he wrote. “But they didn’t remove them after on post-production. I count six points at each side. Compare the first image with a clean face vs the others.”

The user included four images from the scene. You can indeed see dots on Reeves’ face. They are relatively unobtrusive and you’d have to know to look for them, but if you know what to look for, they are there. 

These are a standard visual effects tool to photograph actors in a way that computers can read spatially. Normally, the actor’s face is entirely replaced so you never see the dots, or at least they’d paint over the dots. This technique shows up in performance capture where actors play creatures, or on stuntmen where the actor’s face replaces the stuntman’s. 

This mistake has always been in ‘The Matrix’

Some replies speculated that the reason the dots are now visible is that Warner Bros. remastered The Matrix in 4K resolution. However, Showbiz Cheat Sheet confirms the dots are visible in the DVD and Blu-ray editions, too as well as the clip above. Some commenters said they did not see the dots in the DVD edition, but played on a 54” Panasonic plasma TV, they are indeed visible. 

Visual effects artists are human too. Often they don’t notice oversights until audiences see the film. Perhaps in 1999, the technology was still new enough that they didn’t realize the small dots would be visible. As recently as 2019, Cats left in a shot of Judi Dench’s human hand with a wedding ring. They fixed the shot while Cats was still in theaters. However, The Matrix has been out since 1999, so it’s unlikely they’ll redo that shot. But, Star Wars continues to adjust scenes in the original trilogy so maybe they will fix The Matrix decades later.

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