The Thirteenth Floor

A Review by Jason L. King

Starring: Craig Bierko, Gretchen Mol, Dennis “President Palmer & All State Guy” Haysbert
Directed By: Joseph Rusnek
Rated: Rated R for violence and language.
Movie Released: 1999
IMDB Link

Final Grade:

Dating back almost 10 years ago, a little film called The Matrix took the world by storm. The Matrix was film that revolutionized film and challenged the barriers of what is real in the world. The idea of multiple alternate realities became the new trendy idea for Hollywood. Along with the action packed Matrix films that spawned 2 sequels, Hollywood also created a film called The 13th Floor that went virtually unnoticed.

Craig Beirko and Gretchn Mol star in this who done it sci fi mystery that spans two different realities, modern times and a simulated 1936 created by a computer mastermind. When the creator of the newest virtual reality simulator turns up dead, his assistant looks to be the prime suspect. But when he starts to believe that his boss left him clues to who is really behind the murder in the system, he heads into the virtual world to uncover the clues. What he discovers is more than he ever could have imagined.

A less violent version of the matrix, The Thirteenth floor pushes the boundaries of what is real, and what happens when you mix virtual reality and reality. The film went overlooked in the box office and the rental shelves, which is really sad. It really is a very interesting film.

Craig Bierko does a wonderful job in this film, and Gretchen Mol (a young starlet who never really became a star) also does a very solid acting job in the film. Little known actor Armin Mueller Stahl plays Hannon Fuller, the scientist and grandfatherly figure in the film in a way that makes him a loveable character and the more you get to know him, the more sad you are to know that he dies…(don’t worry!!! They tell you he is dead right away! I didn’t spoil it!)

What makes this film really special is the cinematography. The movie flips between current reality and the virtual 1920’s, and the camera work does a wonderful job of bringing the spirit of the roaring 20’s back to life. Scenes from the 20’s are shot with a slight haze, a grey tint and with a slow, smooth old time motion that looks fantastic on screen.

Plain and simple, I really like the 13th Floor and I think you will too. It a sci-fi murder mystery that pushes the boundaries of what is real. If you can find this on the rental shelves, give it a shot, I think you will be glad you did.

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