Thoughts: The Thirteenth Floor

On Friday, with my son Sisko, I watched the movie the 13th Floor.  Basically I’d come across the title whilst discussing the name of the new blog (The 13th Floor Paradigm)  that was in the makings with 12 other blogging friends and so I got curious.

I found the movie on an on-line tv site, called Dare TV, that my son had told me about.  So if you want to have a go, try the link.

The film was made in 1999 and was directed by Joseph Rusnak and loosely based upon Simulacron-3 (1964), a novel by Daniel F. Galouye.  It was nominated for the Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film, losing to The Matrix in 2000.  I think, that that was really a shame.  Oh, I love Matrix, who doesn’t.  Great effects, fantastic story and of course there’s Keanu Reeves.  But this has meant that a good film has been nearly completely ignored by the public.

The story takes place in Los Angeles in the 1990s.  A group of computer software artists under the guide of Hannon Fuller (Armin Mueller-Stah), owner of a multi-billion dollar software enterprise and inventor create a complete virtual reality replica of 1937 Los Angeles, a world where the people inside the program believe that their world is real.  Hannon Fuller is murdered after having returned from a trial run of the program, and his heir, friend and protégé, Douglas Hall (Craig Bierko)is suspected of having killed him for profit.  The twist is Douglas Hall himself, though he has no memory of doing so, also begins to believe he killed his friend!

This movie, not peopled by big names, should have had a lot more success than it actually had.  The story is well written, there’s violence, but where it’s logical that it should be.  Discussing it with Sisko, we concluded that there were a couple of things that worked against it.  One being, that there were no big names, two, people want a lot of action in their movies now days, so this wouldn’t have attracted the public, three, Matrix came out the same year, poor film didn’t have a chance.  I’ve since read some of the critics opinions, and they seem to think that the script was poorly written and confusing. I had no trouble following it and it kept me in my seat straight through the end.

I’d invite you all to go have a look at this film.  What I’d really like to know is what you think of it.  Did it merit being forgotten, or would you agree with me; if that film had been released maybe just a year earlier, it too may be one of those little cult movies one goes back to see over again.