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Almost every review compares this movie to either "The Matrix" or "The
Dark City" -- mostly unfavorably.
I don't know about anyone, but I thought this was better than "The Matrix", which was too polished and ritzy for my liking.
I've always had trouble understanding the hype surrounding "The Matrix". It's a fine movie, but it's also extremely overrated. And all the movies, with a similar premise, that were produced after it, are now destined to live in its shadow. Not fair.
I won't even mention "The Dark City", because, to me, it was *utter* crap. I hated it.
"The Thirteenth Floor" is a griping, atmospheric, well-acted movie with a decent plot. It doesn't have the "hi-tech" feel of "The Matrix", but that is what I like about it.
I'd gladly watch it again, and recommend it to anyone, who likes a decent sci-fi story.
Like Dark City before it, The Thirteenth Floor uses dark textures to
maximise the effects of the disturbing issues it addresses. A superbly
written script sucks us into the ideas the story is exploring before
shaking loose another layer of stuff to think about. As Dark City moved
the buildings and furniture around, The Thirteenth Floor moves the
characters around different times - is anyone real or are we being
treated to someone's imagination? The acting is top class throughout,
the screenplay deftly executed, and the cinematography brilliantly
evocative of what we are supposed to feel. There is very little to find
fault with. What does surprise me is that this film has not received a
Well worthy of 9/10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The first thing you're stuck by while watching this movie is how
stylish is it, both in terms of look and movement. A very odd concept:
a murder mystery set in 1930s Los Angeles by way of virtual reality.
Indeed, it's like the technology (very '90s) hopped in the sack with
the design elements of "Gattaca" and nine months later, "The Thirteenth
Floor" was born.
Solid performances from the cast, notably Craig Bierko's accused man, straining to get his questions answered before the cops get him (which includes the likable-but-still menacing Dennis Haysbert). And before I forget, the quite fetching Gretchen Mol. Not really much in the way of character development, but it helps that the focus here is on the central mystery plot.
But it's a story that keeps the viewer thinking from the very beginning, and one that leads to a nice surprise of an ending (not a shocker). And overall terrific production design that plunges you right into Los Angeles, 1937.
Pretty interesting movie in general, but with some flaws. While watching, I
was continuously being reminded of other movies (which is a bad thing). I
know that The Thirteenth Floor didn't rip off these other movies, but it did
stumble into its share of cliches. When Armin Mueler-Stahl is walking in and
everyone greets him even though he doesn't know them; reminded me of The
Graduate with Benjamin at the hotel. The scene when the cop pulls over
Ashton and finds the body in the trunk reminded me of just about every
movie. And the idea that their world was artificially created and their is
an end point signifying a fake world, definitely reminded me of Dark City.
Finally, the dumb chase scene near the end where the elevator door is
closing and Bierko just barely gets his hand in to prevent it. Bullets fly
and it's a shame.
There was one really cool thing that I noticed. The same song that the band is playing in a '30s scene is again played by a live band in a '90s scene when Bierko and Mol are dancing. Very nice special effects too. The acting was good, with the main characters sometimes acting in three different roles. For a great movie with Bierko in it, see Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas; Bierko is simply hilarious in the scenes that he appears.
The ideas that the movie presented were very interesting. I wish the writer and director would have followed the philosophical implications instead of what they did. It should have showed the hopelessness and despair that the characters of the artificial world would now be going through, for example; the cop (who throws in his share of dumb lines), instead of the lovely and uplifting final scene. It would have made for a much more powerful ending. So, good; but could have been better. Worth your time though.
I will immediately say that this movie was panned by critics a like. I will also say that this is one of the most thought provoking sci-fi movies that has come out in recent years. Think of Inception but 12 years earlier. It's also very similar to Matrix without the violence. More of an artistic-noir look at Virtual Reality. If you're a sci-fan give this title a chance, you won't be disappointed. The acting is also underrated. Most of the actors in this movie have gone onto become big time actors. I think the problem was that Matrix came out at the same time and provided the de-facto standard for new Sci-fi, and what they are supposed to be.
Well, well. What a surprise I got here watching this 11 years old
After watching the Inception, searching about reviews on it on the net and more good Sci-Fi movies, I noticed the name of this movie.
I can tell you that I was amazingly surprised of the quality, act, story, ambiance and the final twist of this movie. Although there are not much CGI compared to these days movies, it keeps the viewer hooked to the story and characters.
For me it is in the same category as Dark City, The Matrix and now the Inception.
Very underrated. A great solid, multi layer and feel good Sci-Fi movie. One of those at the end you start looking around thinking, What If ...!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Well this is not only an original thriller but a pretty good one too.
Although it sure makes a little bell ring in my head (SPOILER
AHEAD<>WARNING MAJOR SPOILER AHEAD), for the way the film goes
reminded me a lot of eXistenZ. However these two films are not the same.
Whereas the twist is saved for the ending in eXistenZ in The Thirteenth
Floor you are told in the film a long time before the film ends, plus you
can figure it out before if you really search for something and if you keep
your attention, which I didn't (END OF SPOILER<>START READING AGAIN).
Furthermore there really isn't that much to say, the effects were good as
was the acting and the plot. The only thing that I really didn't like that
much in this film was, that it sometimes was too predictable and I think
it's a pity, because it kind of made the film a bit worse than it actually
was, because it was an entertaining and exciting movie. This film was just
the way a thriller is intended and meant to be.
7 out of 10
The peculiar year of 1999 brought about three sci-fi based flicks
circling around the theme of virtual reality. The bombastic "Matrix"
attacked sensorically, whilst inspiring some covert philosophical
questions. Meanwhile David Cronenberg retreading paths already ventured
eking out a somewhat redundant, albeit intriguing take on the new
technoorganic future of mankind with "eXistenZ". With these two
powerful pieces "The Thirteenth Floor", much more coy in ambition and
restrained in goals, got somewhat overlooked, taking a historical
back-burner, nonetheless garnering some fan-base, which allowed the
picture to linger.
Hannon Fuller (Armin Mueller-Stahl), the creator of a virtual realm filled with conscious beings re-imagined in our likeness, ventures one last time into his 1930s inspired world to leave a message of warning to his associate Douglas Hall (Craig Bierko). Some grim mystery unravelled leads Fuller to desperation, but soon meets his end when murdered by an unnamed assailant. In order to uncover the cause of his mentor's death Douglas decides to enter the VR with the help of his coworker Jason Whitney (Vincent D'Onofrio). Meanwhile the heir to Fuller's company - a previously unknown daughter - Jane Fuller (Gretchen Mol) appears with claim to the fortune and to her father's discoveries...
Unmistakenly neo-noir, especially and unsurprisingly when thrown back to the razzmatazz of 1930s Los Angeles, "The Thirteenth Floor" creates a world, which feels instantaneously attractive. The concept itself of living in a programmed world may seem somewhat trivial, but the delivery is anything but. Hannon Fuller turns out to be less than perfect, as he used his newly created world to venture into sexual escapades with hotel dancers, living excessively and without remorse (unfortunately not an issue fervently explored). Similarly other people using VR tend to usurp the power given to do things they would never think of in real life, as if using the VR as a valve for releasing hidden anxieties and wants.
The problem however with "The Thirteenth Floor" comes with the final act. When the pieces start falling into place there remains no mystery and the solution becomes evident long before the puzzle has been solved. After a captivating setup the direction soon becomes all too obvious, thus the atmosphere of intrigue dissipates, leaving a rather hollow shell on which the director places a somewhat sappy love story with a twist. This part of the movie sticks out sorely and the director seems to put in all his best effort to close out and finish before everything spirals out of control. Once offering the solution to the mystery Josef Rusnak has nothing left to offer, albeit the issue of realising inner dreams in an alternative reality seems ripe for the taking (as well as the ills of playing God). Despite some overall allure a lot of the movie doesn't really work, which makes it a different take on the matter. Enjoyable but ultimately not one offering much deeper insight and with a faltering delivery (despite an astute and well bent script).
Don't be misguided by the reviews saying this movie sides with ones
like Blade Runner or Matrix. While I must admit it clearly had the
potential to do so, in the end, well, it just isn't so.
The plot of this film is very interesting. I wonder the book in which it's inspired must be very good. The characterization of the Los Angeles of 1930 is great. But the movie itself is very badly directed and most of the actors are just equally bad. Thi first half of the movie is very rushed what makes the characters seem pretty unreasonable and superficial.
So the in the end the result is just an ordinary movie. It's a little enjoyable, but far from memorable. I give it 5/10 for the studio having wasted such a good history.
The Thirteenth Floor was Columbia Pictures answer to the Matrix and is based on the award winning 1964 Sci-Fi novel, Simulacron 3 by Daniel Galouye. I have known about this movie for a long time, but was always hesitant to see it, because when something like this appears in theaters 6 months after a groundbreaking film like the Matrix, you fully expect it to be a complete rip off. I was sitting at home flipping through the channels and saw the Matrix on, but I didn't wanna see it for the millionth time and decided to see if the Thirteenth Floor was streaming and sure it enough it was, and what a terrific story it turned out to be! In the year 2000, scientists have found a way to transfer a persons consciousness into a fully interactive computer program which has the potential to replace video games. The creator however has discovered a major problem with the system and is found dead. The second in charge of the project soon learns the answer to this brutal murder appears in the simulator, which is a replica of 1937. The story is absolutely ingenious and I loved how the film jumps between present day and the 1930s, it was like watching two stories at once that you knew would eventually come together. Craig Bierko stars in what turns out to be one of his few leading roles and he's just terrific. I remember him as the bad guy in the Long Kiss Goodnight and I thought he was great then, and he's great now. To make the cast even stronger, they take the intense Bierko and pair him with Law & Order's Vincent D'Onofrio, who is quite possibly the most intense actor in Hollywood. To top the whole thing off, this movie has a huge twist in the end, a twist that will make a lot of people wonder about the true nature of their own reality. The Thirteenth Floor is a fresh story with an amazing cast that will make you think, movies like this don't come along as often as they should!
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