The Thirteenth Floor
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By Josef Rusnak
Produced By Sony Pictures
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Debuting the same year as the Matrix, this gem of a VR film was sadly overshadowed by the blockbuster. Yet, it has an equally if not slightly more poignant VR concept.

Released in 1999, during the end of the dot com boom, it is surprisingly science-based in concept in more than a few areas. It will also make you question ?reality? as a concept, as the complex plot slowly unfolds.

Based on the 1964 novel, Simulacron 3, by Daniel F. Galouye, the film opens on the frantic scribbling of elderly computer systems developer Hannon Fuller. He has discovered something of profound importance which he must get to his colleague Douglas Hall as soon as possible. But, there is a problem, he knows he is being hunted. There is evil on his trail. Completing his letter to Hall, Fuller leaves it with a barkeep of a small pub, and heads out into the night air.

Fuller is murdered that night.

From there on out, in standard civilian-detective-story fashion, the plot begins to unfold. Hall is suspected by the police of having murdered Fuller, and is unable to recall anything of that night. He discovers a bloody shirt in his bathroom, and this motivates him to find out what happened.

From there, things start getting interesting.

The plot is relatively a simple and straightforward. It possesses a steadily mounting series of twists which become 20-20 hindsight logical after you see them. The ending, once you get into the swing of the film, is one you can see coming, which does detract from the enjoyment of the second half of the film the first time you see it, but it would not work any other way.

Thirteenth Floor is one of those films which exists only to lake you question the very nature of your existence, and it performs that task very well indeed.

The same memes have been used in a dozen serious studies since the time of the film.

Additional Concepts

The Thirteenth Floor: Technological Promise - On-Demand Mind Uploading