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The Thirteenth Floor

275 customer reviews

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(Oct 05, 1999)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The barriers that separate fantasy from reality are shattered in this stylish, mind-jarring thriller, where two parallel worlds collide in a paroxysm of deception, madness and murder. On the thirteenth floor of a corporate tower, high-tech visionary Douglas Hall (Craig Bierko, The Long Kiss Goodnight) and his high-strung colleague, Whitney (Vincent D'Onofrio, Men In Black), have opened the door to an amazing virtual world - circa 1937 Los Angeles. But when the powerful leader of their secret project (Armin Mueller-Stahl, Shine, The X-Files) is discovered slashed to death, Hall himself becomesthe prime suspect. Arriving from Paris is the beautiful and mysterious Jane Fuller (Gretchen Mol, Rounders), claiming to be the murder victim's daughter. Her instant, magnetic attraction to Hall onlyfurther blurs the lines of what is real. Is he the killer? Is the inscrutable Jane somehow connected? To find the answers, Hall must cross the boundaries into the simulated reality he has helped create

Computer scientist Hannon Fuller (Armin Mueller-Stahl) finds something extremely important. Knowing that he's marked for assassination, he leaves a message in the virtual reality world he's designed, hoping it will be found by colleague Douglas Hall (Craig Bierko). Hall is a suspect in Fuller's murder and indeed finds a bloody shirt in his house, with no recollection of what he did the night before. Hall plunges headlong into Fuller's world (a re-creation of 1937 Los Angeles) to try to unravel the slaying and is soon knee-deep in confusion and trouble. What this film lacks in character depth and plot cohesiveness it makes up for in special effects and high concept. Fans of films like Blade Runner, Dark City, eXistenZ, and even the game Sim City should find this appealing. Of course, there's the question of letting the computers do all the heavy lifting in films while the humans walk through the plot (an all-too-familiar scenario in 1999), but the re-creation of '30s Los Angeles is certainly something to see, pallid script and acting or not. The Thirteenth Floor is a stylish modern-day noir that raises questions about technology versus reality, all the while wrapped up in a murder-mystery story line. --Jerry Renshaw

Special Features

  • Conceptual Art Gallery
  • "Before and After" special effects gallery
  • DVD-ROM and Web Links
  • The Cardigans "Erase/Rewind" Music Video

Product Details

  • Actors: Venessia Valentino, Rachel Winfree, Darryl Henriques, Toni Sawyer, Jeff Blumenkrantz
  • Directors: Josef Rusnak
  • Producers: Marco Weber, Roland Emmerich, Ute Emmerich
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, Special Edition, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Columbia Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: October 5, 1999
  • Run Time: 2 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (275 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0767821629
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,869 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Thirteenth Floor" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Allen Smalling TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 3, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
but you shouldn't. This is a very good movie and most any sci-fi or cyber freak should enjoy it. The premise is that in the near future a Los Angeles-based company has almost perfected a virtual reality system so real that a customer can jack into it and experience 1937 L.A. as a real person, interacting with cyberpeople who behave as real as their real-world counterparts. When the Craig Bierko character's boss (played by Armin Mueller-Stahl) turns up dead, our hero has no choice but to go into the 1937 reality. He discovers a very spooky thing: those 1937 characters have developed an independent consciousness and don't realize that they are "unreal" in any sense, mere technical creations.
The plot thickens, and I don't want to spoil it. I thought this movie should have done much better at the box office, and possibly it would have if not for the fact that The Matrix blew it and quite a few ships out of the water in the virtual-reality flick department. But The Thirteenth Floor has its own charms, and is well worth enjoying on its own terms.
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By J. A. Eyon on October 23, 2005
Format: DVD
Here are a few elements of this movie that might appeal to some people:

Firstly, it presents a clearer, more sensible idea of how virtual reality works than its 1999 movie siblings "THE MATRIX" or "eXistenZ". And it does it thoughtfully, without mind-numbing action scenes and special-effects.

Secondly, the virtual reality world of L.A. in the 1930s is visually rich, yet doesn't stray too far from a realistic look.

Bonus extras are Armin Mueller-Stahl's, Vincent D'Onofrio's and Dennis Haysbert's performances, Gretchen Mol's lusciousness (also enjoyably down-to-earth as a grocery clerk), and exquisite direction and photography (Josef Rusnak, Wedigo von Schultzendorff)

On the DVD, director Rusnak makes the accompanying commentary in the way I like -- he comments on what we're watching with relevent and interesting behind-the-scenes info.

I rewatch this film (and film with commentary) frequently for these reasons.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Gumbel on January 19, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This movie is not a "Matrix rip off", far from it, it is one of the best Sci-Fi films I have ever seen. Craig Bierko is fantastic as Doug Hall, the computer scientist who is the prime suspect in the murder of his boss (Armin Mueller Stahl), Vincent D'onofrio is great as usual as Doug's partner Whitney, this is a great movie with great acting, great special effects and a great story, This is not I repeat NOT a Matrix retread, it goes where the Matrix did, and beyond, this movie is for fans of the old film noir movies, but still crave good sci-fi, This movie just proves that you don't need blood and guns, to make a good action movie.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Edward E. Rom on November 26, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
I saw this movie because I was bored and walking by the theater. I thought I would be killing time for a couple of hours: I was wrong, this time was not killed, it was extremely well spent. The thing I liked best about this film is that it doesn't take time out to explain things, but rather simply shows you the situation, and leaves the understanding to you. In other words, it does not insult your intelligence. Its theme is similar to that of The Matrix, Dark City, and ExistenZ. Having seen all of these, I would rate this one the best of all of them. While I enjoy cinematic gunfire and explosions as well as anyone, I do enjoy a film which does not feature a lot of this sort of thing, and instead relies on the plot itself to keep the story moving. This film is one such. The movie posters said "Question Reality." I am now following that advice. I would rate this film as the best I've seen this year. Now I'm just waiting for the video to come down in price.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Reader 7 on March 29, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I love the movie, but was really disappointed in this DVD! When I purchased it, I didn't notice that it was only the full screen version. Coming back to check on Amazon, it seems this movie is not even available in wide screen! (At least not in region one.) So many of the special effects shots are wasted in a full screen version. You don't really get the full effect. If they ever do a widescreen version I would buy it but this DVD does not do the movie justice.
Another disappointment in this DVD is the lack of special features. This DVD is listed as a "Special Edition." Seeing that, I was expecting some good special features, but all it had was the trailer, a few still shots, and a VERY brief one-screen bio on the actors. That is not what I would expect from a special edition!
I get the impression the DVD version was rushed together with very little thought. Sony, you can do better than this!!!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By 3-006 on March 11, 2005
Format: DVD
Yes, this movie pre-dates the Matrix and in fact has a much more interesting storyline than that film. I see why the 2 are so often compared, but I would describe the 13th Floor as an intellectual version of the Matrix.

The plot has already been discussed so I am going to simply mention some of my favorite aspects of this film. It was fascinating how these programmers could create such a realistic virtual world, wherein the people are programs and have no idea of the truth (see, how the Matrix ripped it off?). Imagine finding out you are nothing but a bunch of 1's and 0's and there is no possibility for change or escape?

It is exceedingly clever how one character leaves clues in the virtual world that allows another character to help solve a mystery in the real one.

Interestingly, perhaps due to a limited budget, more attention was paid to the actual story instead of filling the screen with all kinds of cheesy cgi, which resulted in a better, more fulfilling movie, as opposed to a simple action flick.

Vincent D'Onofrio submits yet another stellar acting performance. I am always floored by how he can look so completely different from one role to the next. Check out the brilliant independant flick, Salton Sea, if you are a fan. (As an aside, while I did not particularly enjoy The Cell, Vincent gave the most chilling performance I have ever seen in my life and one that I will never forget...too bad Jlo was involved.)

If you are interested in the concept of virtual reality or even parallel worlds, or maybe just new types of entertainment technology, you will no doubt enjoy the 13th Floor. While it is a slow-moving drama, the intriguing storyline and believable performances will keep you more interested in this film in the long run than some cheesy, special effects laden popcorn flick.
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