The Beautiful Mystery
(Translated from German by Makee)
He is omnipresent - two new Matrix films, yet unbelievable, because Keanu is able to accomplish what only his screen hero can: make himself invisible.
There is a scene in "Matrix Reloaded". The screen hero Neo reaches for a precision projectile as if reaching for a lover, whose hand just separated from his, and disappears into the abyss. For one second, he eyes blaze like coals. Immediately his face smoothes out and becomes impenetrable. No one knows what goes on inside him.
It is the face of Keanu Reeves that one finally remembers, even after the firework effects have long since lost their glow. It is beautiful. Even though the contours have become sharper and are almost immaculate. In the meantime it is worth 100 million dollars. That is how much Reeves receives for the Matrix sequels, "Matrix Reloaded" (opening 5/22 in Germany) and "Matrix Revolutions" (opening 11/6.). That makes the 38-year old, after Tom Cruise, Hollywood's highest paid actor.
And yet he remains primarily unknown to the public. No one protects his private world quite like Reeves. Not much is known about him. And when you collect the few facts, the picture adds up to be one that is oddly sad. For instance, in the spring of 1988 he almost died. Insiders call what he did one night on his Norton CC on the Topanga Canyon Boulevard in L.A. a "Demon Ride". Without headlights and at full throttle, he raced through the street, and was thrown out of the curve. For half an hour he lay on the asphalt in the direction of Hollywood Hills with a torn spleen and busted teeth before he was found. The huge scar on his abdomen is now seen in every one of his love scenes. Four years later Reeves' father was sentenced to a 10-year jail sentence for dealing heroin. Christmas 1999, the baby he was looking forward to with his partner Jennifer Syme was stillborn. They named her Ava, posthumously. (Note of error: the name had already been decided on prior to her death. - Ani) Sixteen months later Jennifer, who was suffering from depression and was not buckled in, drove into a row of parked cars and died. And no one knows how long Keanu's sister has to live. For the past ten years, Kim Reeves, 36, has been battling leukemia.
Keanu Reeves never refers to the dark hours through which is has suffered. Never. "If it's about my private life, I shut down," he determinedly states. And the public only discovered that he nursed his sister for weeks in the luxury hotel "Hana-Maui" in Hawaii because a paparazzo followed him. Otherwise Reeves' private business remains purely his private business. The few interviews he has given largely fill the cassette tapes with silence. He pulls back so far, that it's possible to reach right through him, if he stood before you.
Keanu Reeves never shows more than a picture of himself. Filled with his mystery and the fantasies of the watcher. He is vague. A masculine man with occasional feminine gestures. Simultaneously present and somehow far away. He is not even an especially good actor - and somehow he touches many with his sheer presence. Director Kenneth Branach, with whom he filmed "Much Ado About Nothing" states: "You can't get close to him, although he is a very erotic, physically sensuous creature. He awakens unfulfilled desires. Which makes him attractive to both men and women. It's true. When you hear about his tragedies, you want to comfort him. At the same time you hesitate when you look into those unfathomable eyes. Do you really want to know what is going on behind them?
"My life is a constant pretense," Reeves recently stated - surprisingly honest - to a US magazine. "I look different and have had several step fathers and more former homes than others." Psychologists would call that type of early childhood lack of roots, an absence of standards of stability. (I'm paraphrasing here. It's the meaning, although it may not be the correct psychological term.) After being born in Beirut, Keanu grew up with changing stepfathers and without a stable home. His mother, show dancer Patricia Taylor, first moved to Australia, then to Canada, where Keanu took on the Canadian citizenship. Finally to New York. First she married the director Paul Aaron, then Rock-promoter Robert Miller. Alice Cooper was a regular guest in their home at the time. Lastly, she married Jack Bond, the owner of a hair salon. Since then, insecurity and loss belong to Reeves' life like the air conditioned air he breathes in L.A's "Chateau Marmont", where he's lived for the past ten years. Maybe it is his experiences with vulnerability and loss that give Keanu Reeves the depth without which no star can survive for long. "I'm afraid of the world," he once said. "It is such an uncomfortable place. Everywhere there are dangers and pain."
Who else could play it better, the role of Neo, who sadly reaches for the special effect on the screen? In the "Matrix" films, the metaphysical super hero has to cope with the fact that his previous life was a lie and his real world is ruled by mechanical monsters. But Neo fights for his freedom. Countless fights against gravity and a couple of sizzling love scenes later (with Monica Bellucci and Carrie-Anne Moss) he succeeds. Let's wish that the sad, mysterious Keanu Reeves finds a way to free himself like Neo.