While the characters in "The Truman Show," "Pleasantville," "The Matrix," "Open Your Eyes," "ExistenZ," and now, "The Thirteenth Floor," wonder what kind of world it is they live in, this string of virtual reality films begs the question of whether Hollywood isn't just one big computer simulation itself. I mean, what exactly is the objective here? To beat a subject so thoroughly into the ground that people begin hurling themselves onto the electrified third rails of subways to escape the sheer monotony?
In this one, Hannon Fuller (Armin Mueller-Stahl) has created a computer simulation of 1937 Los Angeles that's perfectly realized. Basically, you sort of transfer your consciousness into the computer simulation, and there you are, in 1937 L.A. Certainly nothing to do with cheap leftover sets, oh no. When Hannon is found dead in the real world, the prime suspect is his partner, Douglas Hall (Craig Bierko), and Doug can't remember where he was during the time Hannon was killed.
The answer is in the game, because Hannon left Doug a message with the bartender, who looks a lot like one of the programmers, Whitney (Vincent D'Onofrio). When Hannon's daughter Jane (Gretchen Mol) shows up, things get even more screwy.
I'd love to give away the ending, but then some loser is going to whine like a rash-plagued infant about "spoilers," so let's just say that if you've seen any episodes of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" centering around the Holodeck, you know from whence director/writer Josef Rusnak and writer Ravel Centeno-Rodriguez stole the plot.
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