3. Bound (1996)

Bound was the Wachowskis first movie and is unlike everything they did after. Where even their best movies sometimes feel cold, Bound is electric. Sexual. Tense. Funny. It’s a modern-noir crime thriller about a young woman (Jennifer Tilly) who hooks up with an ex-con (Gina Gershon) and the pair scheme to steal from a mob boss (Joe Pantoliano). The film is filled with all the twists and turn of a classic film noir, but with the hip, independent, raw sensibilities of the Nineties.

Visually, there are glimpses here and there of what The Wachowksis would become but they’ve probably never written a better screenplay. The ideas in their other movies are obviously way more complicated and intriguing, but Bound is just tight. Good characters, smart dialogue, interesting story, it’s the kind of debut any filmmaker would love to have. History tends to underrate Bound but it’s definitely one of the Wachowskis best.

Cloud Atlas Hanks Berry
2. Cloud Atlas (2012)

There are almost no words to describe my love of Cloud Atlas. The Wachowskis, who co-write and co-directed with Tom Tykwer, contributed to one of the most epic and under appreciated films in recent memory. Cloud Atlas tells the story of several souls spanning multiple times and generations. Not only are the characters connected, the stories are connected, the actors playing them play multiple roles, and each section of the film has a wholly unique tone.

Somehow though, the Wachowskis and Tykwer link them together masterfully. Every single jump in stories is both a comment on what was just seen and a foreshadowing of what comes next. There’s humor, tragedy, action, comedy, and it all works together in an inspiring, almost unfathomable way. Cloud Atlas is a trio of filmmakers working on such a elevated plain, it’s almost too much for most people to comprehend. Hence the general malaise surrounding the film. Nevertheless, much like the themes of the movie, time will shine a positive light on the masterpiece that is Cloud Atlas.

The Matrix Bullet Time

1. The Matrix (1999)

Was there every any doubt? Of course not. While I personally feel like Cloud Atlas is a better movie than The Matrix, The Matrix tops this list for a number of reasons. First, it was undeniably groundbreaking. The “bullet time” action innovated by the Wachowksis here was used and copied for years after. Second, this movie is all them. It’s not an adaptation, there was no co-director, this movie is straight Wachowski.

Then there’s the movie itself. A commentary on humanity wrapped in an unbelievably kick ass action movie with so many A+ moments, it’s almost unfair. Shot after shot, scene after scene, The Matrix is as exciting and cool a film as has probably ever been made. Yet it all feels somehow effortless. The sweeping story, combined with the huge surprises, love story, a ton of complicated yet fascinating exposition, as well as that insane action are all just perfectly in time with each other, creating a movie that will be watch and rewatched until the end of time.

The Wachowskis Jupiter

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