The Thirteenth Floor
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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
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It could very well be that what other reviewers are critical of about this movie is what actually makes me like it all the more; namely that science fiction that makes up a large part of the story line is not so complicated as to overpower the film noir-like quality this movie also possesses. The plot remains simple yet provocative, particularly after one encounters the plot twist near the end of the movie.
And it is that plot twist that provides one of the reasons why I slip this DVD of this movie into my player twice as often as I do those other two films..... With The Matrix and with Dark City, I am made to question the reality of the environment I live in; with The Thirteenth Floor, I am forced to examine the very foundation of my own existance. Deep concepts indeed...and from such a simple movie too!
Besides that, I loved Fuller's 1937 simulation world, from the slightly sepia cast that colored everything, to the slightly edgy quality of the music in the cabaret (The program, like all computer programs, still had a few bugs in it....).
OK...I will agree that the plot, though simple, still managed to show more depth than any of the characters within it ....and the scene at the very end of the film could have been fleshed out more. BUT with that one star taken away, I still would recommend this movie....
Rent it and see it and find out I mean. Get a copy for your collection when you want to see it again.....I did.
If you enjoy this movie, you may also enjoy Jack Chalker's Wonderland Gambit series, starting with The Cybernetic Walrus. While reading that book, I kept thinking of this movie--not that the scenes are similar, but the concepts start out close ...
Five stars for visuals, three stars for making it too obvious where it's going to end, four for the plot.