Synopsis by Mark Deming
The increasingly blurry lines between what is real and what is an artificial construct - both physically and philosophically - are the point of focus in the science fiction drama The Thirteenth Floor. In 1937, a man named Fuller (Armin Mueller-Stahl) gives a note to Ashton (Vincent D'Onofrio), the bartender at a swank hotel, that's addressed to Douglas Hall (Craig Bierko). Fuller tells Ashton it's crucial that no one else sees the note, and that the information enclosed is of great importance. Moments later, Fuller transports himself to 1998. He's soon found murdered, and a shirt stained with Fuller's blood is found in Hall's apartment. Fuller and Hall both work for Intergraph Computer Systems, a cutting edge artificial intelligence firm, and the "past" Fuller was visiting was actually a stunningly realistic recreation of Los Angeles 50 years ago, complete with people you can meet and places you can visit, that exists only in a microchip. The message he left with Ashton, however, is real. Some people, including LAPD detective Larry McBain (Dennis Haysbert) believe Hall murdered Fuller to assume his position of leadership at Intergraph. Jane (Gretchen Mol), Fuller's daughter, soon arrives on the scene, and Hall finds himself infatuated; Hall is determined to clear his name, so with the help of Whitney (also played by (Vincent D'Onofrio), he into the virtual 1937 in hopes of discovering just what happened. The Thirteenth Floor makes copious use of digital effects technology to allow its characters to travel between 1937 and 1998 - ironically using computer technology to create a world that exists inside a computer.
accusation, investigation, murder, reality, time-travel, vindication, virtual-reality