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‘A Glitch in The Matrix’ Trailer: Cerebral Sundance Doc Investigates Simulation Theory

Rodney Ascher's Sundance Midnight title uses cultural touchstones like "The Matrix" to answer the question: Is any of this real?

Magnolia Pictures has released the official trailer for the Sundance Midnight title “A Glitch in the Matrix,” which just happens to coincide with the movie’s theatrical and VOD release. Directed by “Room 207” filmmaker Rodney Ascher, the cerebral documentary plumbs the depths of “simulation theory,” which has been floating around for centuries but reached a less fringe place in popular culture due to the success of “The Matrix.” Diving down the rabbit hole of science, philosophy, and conspiracy theory, “A Glitch in The Matrix” uses a wide array of commentators and cultural touchstones to mine the question of whether the world as we know it is a simulation.

IndieWire’s Eric Kohn wrote in his Sundance review: “Drawing on interviews with 10 experts and internet theorists with an endearing mashup of film clips and trippy 3-D animation, ‘A Glitch in the Matrix’ adapts to the internal logic of its echo chamber until starts to sound pretty convincing on its own terms…A meandering but imaginative riff on same scary-fun approach to actualizing outrageous ideas — but this one widens the scope. The compendium of voices in ‘A Glitch in the Matrix’ assert with such confidence that the world doesn’t exist that even skeptics might give it some thought.”

Ascher traces the origins of simulation theory from Plato’s “Republic” to Philip K. Dick all the way up to Elon Musk’s Twitter feed. The visual components echo the questions the film is exploring; all interview subjects appear via Skype, all the reenactments done using digital animation and computer graphics, and the archival footage is pulled from ’90s cyber thrillers and video games.

Ascher is best known for the 2012 film “Room 237,” which used archive and recut clips of Stanley Kubrick’s work to explore deeper themes in “The Shining.”

“In all my projects, I like to get a little conceptual with how I visualize people’s stories,” Ascher said in a video for Sundance. “We’re telling the stories of people who really think we’re living in a complicated digital simulation, so we tried to tell the story through creating really complicated digital simulations.”

“A Glitch in the Matrix” is now playing in theaters and on demand. Check out the trailer below.

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