||Title: The Thirteenth Floor
|| Year: 1999
|| Country: Germany
||Starring: Craig Bierko, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Gretchen Mol, Vincent D'Onofrio, Dennis Haysbert
|| Director: Josef Rusnak
My Review: Released the same year as The Matrix (1999), this movie was completely overshadowed by the much larger budget, advertising campaign and star power of Keanu Reeves. Despite that, the story works as well, if not better. It's often compared to the Matrix, but it's flavor is far different. Here is an intellectual, thought provoking film. An engaging film that keeps asking its viewer to discern reality from fantasy, to continually challenge our preconceived notions and broaden our view. Directed by Josef Rusnak (also co-wrote the screenplay), starring Craig Bierko (as Douglas Hall), Gretchen Mol (as Jane Fuller), Armin Mueller-Stahl (as Hannon Fuller), Vincent D'Onofrio (as Jason Whitney), Dennis Haysbert (as Det. Larry McBain) and others. The direction was a bit stiff, the acting pretty good, and the sets outstanding. The editing was fairly linear and that's a shame. Some additional effort in the editing could have made this movie far more competitive. The story (without spoiling the movie): Corporate manager Douglas Hall is implicated in a murder when a coworker ends up dead under mysterious circumstances. The two were involved with the development of a virtual reality simulation of Los Angeles in the 30s. They were preparing to release there simulation as a breakthrough form of entertainment, if only they could work out the last of the bugs. The film has a film noir detective angle, a sci-fi premise, and a humanistic approach. The characters are well developed and believable. The tension and plot take some time to build, but the pay-off is shocking brilliant. If you enjoy thinking sci-fi with more drama than action, you'll love this twisted sci-fi tale of love, deception, murder and mind-blowing revelations. I give it a 5 out of 5.
Summary: Computer scientist Hannon Fuller has discovered something extremely important. He's about to tell the discovery to his colleague, Douglas Hall, but knowing someone is after him, the old man leaves a letter in his computer generated parallel world that's just like the 30's with seemingly real people with real emotions. Fuller is murdered in our real world the same night, and his colleague is suspected. Douglas discovers a bloody shirt in his bathroom and he cannot recall what he was doing the night Fuller was murdered. He logs into the system in order to find the letter, but has to confront the unexpected. The truth is harsher than he could ever imagine...