The Thirteenth Floor (1999)

 

The Thirteenth Floor (1999) starring Armin-Mueller Stahl is a science fiction crime thriller — basically a ‘tech noir’ — directed by Josef Rusnak.  It’s part based on the novel Simulacron-3 (1964) by Daniel F. Galouye — part based because Simulacron-3 because Simulacron-3  is an early effort at describing virtual reality, something that had become vastly sophisticated by 1999 — that was the year of The Matrix after all.  Armin Mueller-Stahl plays the inventor of the Virtual Reality system as well as character within it, alternating between a confidant patriarchal charm and a more confused and bumbling artisanal type.  He is much better placed here than he would have been in The Matrix.

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Armin Mueller-Stahl in Lola

 

Watching Lola by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, is at times like watching a film by Claude Chabrol; and this is down to Armin Mueller-Stahl . Now Mueller-Stahl has never acted in any Chabrol films, but to me he looks like he should have. He is gentle, intelligent, comic and middle aged in a perfectly provincial and staid manner. In fact it is this provinciality that makes me think of Chabrol and this same provinciality that made him perfect for Lola.

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Armin Mueller-Stahl in The International (2009)

The business of film is to produce satisfactory, profitable and widely acceptable product.  That’s why they call it an industry and not an art, and that’s why films like The International become acceptable, when in fact they’re not.  I also feel that audiences are corralled by productions that have in themselves not been made for the correct reasons.

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