From The Matrix to Jessica Jones, Carrie-Anne Moss is one of the best genre actors of her generation.

Feature

Kayti Burt

Mar 9, 2018

From The Matrix to Jessica Jones, Moss has been part of some of our favorite genre franchises over the past few decades. We’re taking the time to celebrate her career as one of the best genre actors of her generation…

Humans

“Nothing really bad has ever happened to you, has it?”

We don’t want to spoil too much about Moss’ role in the second season of this underrated science fiction classic, but Dr. Athena Morrow is at the heart of the mystery in Humans season two. Moss plays a pre-eminent A.I. expert driven by mysterious motives to create a new kind of machine consciousness and, though some of her moves may be controversial, its hard not to empathize with her character due to Moss’ nuanced, heartbreaking performance. 

The Matrix Trilogy

“I think we can handle one little girl.”

In the opening scene of the trilogy, the mysterious Trinity is our entrance into the world of The Matrix — or, perhaps more accurately, our entrance out of the world of The Matrix. Though we don’t get a hand-held explanation for how the black-clad women can defy the rules of gravity, why the men in suits are so intent on catching her, or why she would willing run towards a ringing payphone, we are increasingly desperate to get to know this woman. And, over the course of the trilogy, we do.

Moss plays Trinity with the perfect balance of vulnerability and stoic determination. She is not fearless — far from it — she just believes in the cause more than she worries about her own death. For me, obsessively watching The Matrix as a teenage girl, Trinity was easily the coolest character in The Matrix. Neo was The Chosen One, but Trinity was my Chosen One — a female movie heroine just as competent as the male movie hero.

The actress recently posted a photo of her perhaps most iconic role as Trinity from The Matrixalong with a caption touching on what she looks for in a role…

I do work that gives me the opportunity to look at the world and to look within. Exploring humanity and characters as a way of life. Every character I have played has given me so much. 

Memento

“What would you kill for?”

If you have never seen this Christopher Nolan classic, do it for Carrie-Anne Moss’ performance alone. (Though there is much to like about this trippy thriller about a man who is unable to form short-term memory, but is trying to find the person who killed his wife.) Moss plays Natalie, the femme fatale of the story who, in one memorable scene, tells protagonist Leonard just what she thinks of him. But, as is the case with most of both Moss and Nolan’s characters, there is more to her character than a scorned woman. She is mad and she is motivated and she has very articulate reasons for wanting to manipulate poor, memory-challenged Leonard.

Red Planet

Red Planet is far from Moss’ best movie, but it is an entertaining science fiction flick to add to her prolific collection of hardcore genre pieces. It is also pretty cool to see Moss as Commander Kate Bowman, the leader of a rescue mission to Mars that (of course) goes horribly wrong. We don’t get to see enough women in leadership roles on film, and this was even more true in 2000, when the film was released. Leave it to Carrie-Anne Moss to be ahead of her time.

Chuck

Chuck was past its prime by the time Carrie-Anne Moss made her appearance as Gertrude Verbanski, the CEO of a private security company, but that doesn’t mean it’s not great that one of the best genre actresses of our time had the chance to star as a recurring character in one of the most unabashedly nerdy TV shows of its time. In other words: if you manage to make it to season five of Chuck, you’ll have a Carrie-Anne Moss waiting for you. 

Jessica Jones

“The real world is not about happy endings. It’s about taking the life you have, and fighting like hell to keep it.”

OK, you got us. That clip is from Daredevil season two, but it demonstrates just how persuasive Jeri Hogarth can be. From her starring role in Jessica Jones to her subsequent cameos across the Netflix Marvel universe, Moss has taken the gender-swapped character and run with it, crafting the no-nonsense lawyer who isn’t afraid to dive into the legal world of vigilantes and superheroes.