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The Thirteenth Floor
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The Thirteenth Floor More at IMDbPro »

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

One of the greatest concept films

Author: khieriel from Oregon
22 May 2003

I consider this film great as a concept film because its metaphor of humans living in a provisional reality--one that has only relative substance which can be awakened from or "died to" at any point. And then the new reality is only provisional too!

What is the "real" world we live in? We live on a plane of relative existence but meditate or eventually die to wake into another dimension of existence. Most people doubt this to be true, and imagine this material world is all there is. But films like eXistenZ, The Thirteenth Floor, The Truman Show, Matrix, and several others are trying to wake humanity up to the illusory state of things.

And incidentally The Thirteenth Floor did this job extremely well by using the metaphor of the dialed in computer model of the virtual.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Not as bad as the critic thought

Author: ( from Denton, Texas
2 May 2002

Pros: Special effects, script.

Cons: Gets a bit too unbelievable, last 20 minutes ruins it.

The Thirteenth Floor was critically panned but it really isn't that bad. Craig Bierko is an inventor of a virtual reality game in which all the characters are real enough to, as Dennis Haysberth puts it, "f**k". His mentor, played by Armin Mueller Stahl frequents this land and comes upon a secret. He gives a note to a bartender (played by Vincent D'nofrio) to give to Bierko. The bartender instead reads it and discovers the secret. Armin Mueller dies and Bierko must go into this land to find out who killed him. The plot twists are many and startling as you begin to watch the movie. Similar to the matrix and Dark City because the charactes are in a prison and they are unaware to it. I call the Matrix, Dark city, and the Thirteenth floor the Perception Vs Reality series. The Matrix takes the philosophical side, Dark city the humanistic side, but Thirteenth Floor explores the technological side of the argument of what makes us human. Ultimately inferior to the prior films, it is still one of the best sci-fi films of the 90's.

Premise: Bierko must find out who killed Stahl.

The thirteenth floor was nominated for best science fiction film at the Saturn Award.

Grade: 8.2/10 (Good Film)

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A Must-see if you are a fan of matrix

Author: Hunky Stud
29 May 2001

I thought that Matrix might be a copy of this movie. However, to my surprise, both movies were made in 1999. Those two movies have similar concepts.

An audience has to be actively thinking in order to understand the logic and intelligence of this movie. The writer and screenwriter must have spent some time to make up a story that flows so smoothly. Of course, there is one obvious mistake. In order to make computers that are so sophisticated, I do not think that there could be only two workers working in the lab.

It does not have all those high tech movement as in the Matrix, however, it is absolutely a smart movie. The common audience might not even understand.

I am glad that I have seen this movie. I have never heard about this movie until I accidently found it at a local library. Too bad, it did not make a big hit in the main stream. Otherwise, we can expect a sequel II.

It is definitely a must see!

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

One of the best movies I have ever seen.

Author: George League ( from Raleigh, North Carolina
20 March 2001

This movie has it all. Riveting plot, sharp editing, fantastic soundtrack, good acting, and special effects that are so good that you don't realize that they are special effects (the recreation of 1937 Los Angeles). There have been comparisons to The Matrix...The Matrix was all special effects and little else. This movie grabs your heart and soul and takes it for a very thought-provoking ride. It is NOT a rip-off of the Matrix, since it is based on a novel written many years ago, and was in production long before the Matrix was released. Absolutely one of my all time favorites.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

An exciting movie and it makes you think.

Author: Pete-104 ( from Redmond, WA
16 October 1999

This is a great movie. It has vitual action, like the Matrix, great acting and f/x, and makes you think at the end, like Contact. It is kind of like the Matrix, but not a ripoff. While it has similar elements, it's not about action or a quest like Neo's; it's mostly story-focussed, which is less common in movies these days. It also had exciting parts, but not just mindless action. If you like movies with interesting stories and twists plus action and suspense, rent this movie, but make sure the ending isn't given away.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A twist here...a twist there

Author: Mike Morris from Muskegon, MI
29 May 1999

On the whole a very good movie. The mechanical part...the photography, both in the "real world" and in the synthetic world are done in graphic splendor. I especially loved the 30s scenescape. The actors were well cast. The story itself, especially the idea of a synthetic world, is good. The only drawback to the whole movie was that like a whodunnit that wasn't scripted perfectly, I pretty much knew what was gonna happen at the end long before we got there. Still was fun watching them get to that point. I sincerely recommend this movie to all. Won't compete to the new Star Wars release...but on it's own will do well.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Very good introduction to Kleene's recursion theorem

Author: Aryeh Friedman
11 July 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I often use the 13th floor as an example when I am teaching about theoretical computer science to non-technical people. It is a perfect example of Kleene's recursion theorem (that any simulation will not be anywhere as powerful machine simulating it). For example most of the backdrop of the 1930's VR is in black and white (even in closeups of unimportant details like the bank walls behind Hanna's 1930 avatar), the 1990's are a little crisper but certain obvious details like no smog in LA creep in. The 2030's is the only one believable but even it seems a little fishy because it lays on effects others left out too thickly (like the smog/mist is far to dense for that part of LA).

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Going for a drive may never be the same again.

Author: onetoten from Canada
3 December 2009

This was one of those sci-fi thrillers that I never heard about until it was on cable. When this film started I had no idea where it was going. There were no cartoon heroes or car chases but a cleverly plotted narrative that keeps your mind and imagination at work.

Some film fall apart when a romantic coupling doesn't work. Craig Bierko and Grethen Mol had the justifiable chemistry needed to move the story. It gets tiring to see the same actors in romantic parts. I didn't feel the story pushing me to believe anything in this film because the plot itself worked.

All the actors in this film were first-rate. The set decorations were stunning and the special effects didn't detract from the plot. If you see this film listed in your area's media I highly recommend it.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Hamlet within Hamlet

Author: gil-bedard from Winnipeg, Canada
23 November 2002

Life is demanding, unless you're independently wealthy, or retired, or living on a deserted island somewhere in the South Pacific. Most of us gotta make a buck. So, if you're a movie critic with deadlines to meet, time is a precious commodity. Therefore, it seems to me that professional movie critics probably don't spend as much time reviewing some movies as they should. Most movies are easily understood & enjoyed during one sitting. I'm thinking here of comedies, romance movies, action movies, etc. However, certain movies--mostly of the science-fiction genre--require slow digestion. Mental incubation is necessary to appreciate these movies. "The Thirteenth Floor" is one such movie. As I scroll down the rottentomatoes reviews, it is evident to me that most critics probably didn't spend enough time watching it. One critic crows: "This is a film about deeply confused people that seems likely to put viewers in a state of deep confusion for most of its running time." Another opins: "As compelling as a knock-knock joke." Yeesh. It makes me wonder if these pundits actually watched the bloody thing. One gets the impression that while watching it, they had their thumbs poised over the fast-forward button. (Those damned deadlines, you know.) In any event, keep in mind the Irish playwright Brendan Behan's wry observation: "Critics are like eunuchs in a harem; they know how it's done, they've seen it done every day, but they're unable to do it themselves."

Now, I'm not a simple-minded guy, I hope. But I found that I appreciated this movie more after having watched it a second, and then a third time. I agree that at first blush, it is superficially confusing. (Geez, if you want a no-brainer, watch an Abbott & Costello movie.) This movie is for a thinking man... WHOOPS!! Er, make that a "thinking person". In fact, I consider it one of the best sci-fi movies I've ever seen. It is very stylish, well-acted & well-written. Much time & effort obviously went into recreating certain parts of 1937 California. The only serious problem I had with it was the loud, mechanical-sounding whirring noises & excessive laser lighting generated by the computer equipment. This was very implausible, 'though it didn't detract from my enjoyment of the movie.

Before watching this movie, I'd never heard of Craig Bierko. But I thought that as the protagonist, he was excellent. He seemed aloof at times, but I didn't think that this was a problem. And maybe this is what his role required of him. Armin Mueller-Stahl's acting career spans almost half a century, with over one hundred movies to his credit, according to IMDb. He is the consummate actor. Very dependable & a fine choice for the role of computer genius & mentor to Bierko's character. His heavy German accent seemed all the more appropriate. Gretchen Mol was also very credible, and she wasn't hard to look at, either. I thought the ever mercurial Vincent D'Onofrio was convincing (no pun intended) as a computer geek-cum-antagonist. It's hard to believe that he was the guy who played the psycho in "The Cell"! I mean, the guy is so adaptable.

I shall resist the temptation to describe the movie's structure, because I think it is often better to watch a movie with little or no foreknowledge of the plot details. For instance, I bought "The Thirteenth Floor" on a whim because I liked the DVD box cover & because the price was right. I suggest that if you are an aficionado of the sci-fi genre, just buy it, then watch it, and THEN check it out on the net. I will say that, to the unwashed, the plot of this movie is far-fetched in the extreme. However, some computer science theorists suggest that in the future, what is depicted in this movie would be possible. We are already developing quantum, quasi-biological computers, so who knows? Thank God I'll be dead before they arrive.

So, there you have this critic's opinions. If you like a good, stylish sci-fi movie, rent it. Or buy it. (I found it in a used CD/DVD store.) But WATCH it.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Wait a minute... it's not crap. What's going on?

Author: Leigh Loveday from UK
17 August 2000

I have to admit that after seeing the trailer for this film months ago, failing to notice any impact it might have had on the US box office then watching it stagger hopelessly straight onto the video shelves here in the UK, I ended up renting it in the hope that it might at least be bad enough to raise a laugh. But - shock horror - it's not. In fact it's a smart little film that deserves far better treatment than it's had so far.

It might not be exactly what you expect right from the word go, but that's not necessarily a bad thing: it's just that the film takes its time when it comes to introducing the sci-fi elements, so it's easy to feel cheated at first as basically the only people likely to see this film are genre fans. But things pick up quickly after the dull first half-hour of exposition and sketchy character introduction. There are enough twists and turns during the next hour to keep on redoubling your interest, and the cast holds up well: Craig Bierko (previously known to me only as Lister from the mercifully short-lived US Red Dwarf remake - poor bloke) is a surprisingly strong leading man, dealing as well as the rest of the cast (good old Vincent D'Onofrio in particular) with those multiple roles. The only real problem with the cast is that it's not even B-list. If the filmmakers had only had the budget to take on some better-known faces for the lead roles, this could have gone down a storm. Sad but true.

Yes, the storyline has been done before, but so has every other sci-fi storyline these days, and this one's easily different and polished enough to warrant a look - just prepare to be kept on your toes, as it's not the mindless crash-bang action cheese laser death cyborg kickboxing spectacular you might have been expecting.

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