Subconsciously the Matrix is real. It's a system of conformity to a social standard no matter how grotesque, disagreeable, or savage that standard may be. (Think Salem Witch Burnings, The Crusades, and the fall of the Knights of Templar). What are the crucification that are happening today? As much as I despise her - Martha Stewart was crucified - not because she was involved in insider trading, but because she purgered herself in a federal investigation. Now she faces upto 20 years in prison, while the guy who did the real illegal BS only got something like 5 years. But she was a woman with power playing ball in a mens world.
Who else is being crucified? The Pakistanis are metaphorically burning Jews at the steak, Jews are metaphorically drowning the Pakistanis, Bush is on a witch hunt, Middle eastern people are on a witch hunt for American blood... There are social systems behind everyone of these.
For a perfect example of this, read about North Korea's perversion of "The Diary of Anne Frank" here:
It's sickening how conformity has spread a disease of hate and stifled free thought within that country!
If you can't honestly look around and say that you are different, you stand out, you don't belong where you are - then there is some sort of system you belong to.
I've been working on a artistic-photographic project that focuses on just this aspect - anyone who's interested just PM me - I'd be happy to share my thoughts.
As for the matrix being what's depicted in the movie? I will not say it's not possible, or even likely for that matter. What I will say is something that has been emphasized by philosophers for decades:
If the mind is trapped inside a false reality to hide it from the truth, the mind cannot possibly make any true connection or reference to things outside of the reality that it knows. In order to successfully refer when we use language, there must be an appropriate relationship between the speaker and the object referred to; words do not refer to objects "magically" or intrinsically: certain conditions must be met in the world in order for us to accept that a given written or spoken word has any meaning and whether it actually refers to anything at all.
A part of that last paragraph was taken from the matrix website - I suggest that anyone interested in the idea that the matrix is real read the philosophy section at whatisthematrix.com - especially this one here:
Another suggested reading is Rene Descartes essay of "Meditations" in it's entirety.
Sorry about not using tags for my links - I kept getting errors. :/