Code 46 (2004)
After the death of her father, Hannah becomes concerned with the strange behavior of her mother. As her mother's troubled childhood is revealed, Hannah realizes how little she ever knew.
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Critic Reviews for Code 46
Amid the white walls and slick surfaces of this film, the characters seem more like lab rats than human beings.
It's a common enough problem in sci-fi movies. A filmmaker creates a totally convincing world but can't find a compelling story to put in it.
Winterbottom and screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce sell the sci-fi but botch the interpersonal.
A provocative, classy, low-key sci-fi tale that presents a world so within reach it's scary.
What keeps Code 46 from living up to its fascinating premise is the lack of empathy we feel for William and Maria. They are almost like benign video game characters.
Achingly elegiac sci-fi story of love and memory lost - an Oedipal tragedy for the genetically modified age.
The film is like bypass surgery: clinically precise but always in control of your heart.
Part thriller, part love story and part political allegory, told as dream noir, but too tangled and slippery to inspire much empathy.
a noir snore with no moral desperation, no clear-cut point-of-view and a love story whose eroticism feels about as urgent as yardwork
Too much stoicism and not enough vulnerability -- OK for a futuristic film about a dystopian society, but not if you're supposed to feel the emotions of the main characters.
It's too bleak for the morose Robbins and doe-eyed Morton to connect meaningfully with each other or with us.
Winterbottom's sci-fi romance is in a class of its own. Robbins and Morton [are] clearly in their element here.
Cinematography, production design and music are all top-notch, but the film largely succeeds because of the leads -- two fine actors at the top of their game.
It's hard to root for people who defy oppressive social systems when they can't seem to make sound decisions on their own.
Audience Reviews for Code 46
Interesting premise and sci-fi world but the characters either lacked chemistry or their story just wasn't very interesting.More
A case of: little known movie that would deserve a bit more attention.
The most interesting aspect of this film is its futuristic setting. In the not too distant future people with 25% or more identical genes are not allowed to have children together. The violation of that is the Code 46, the punishment measures accordingly drastic. The world seems to consist of mega-cities, where a lot of languages melted into each other, and the impoverished outside. You can't go wherever or whenever you want without the right papers. There is cyberpunk technology that gives you skills, helping with your job or for your leisure activities. All this may sound like another "Blade Runner", but it's all explained very subtly while the story evolves and does not seem too far away from our current world.
In this setting Tim "Shawshank" Robbins has to investigate a case of theft in a company in Shanghai. What exactly this firm does and what was stolen is not revealed right away, thanks to the amalgam of languages, especially when it comes to technical terms. The delicate relationship Robbins' character builds with suspect Samantha "Minority Report" Morton reminds of "Lost in Translation", two somewhat lonely souls connecting in a big, strange city. To say more about the plot would be spoiling.
The use of music together with the outstandingly beautiful cinematography and interesting things the movie has to say about the gap between rich and poor and how mankind apparently fucked up its gene pool is very fascinating and interesting. There is no action, and the movie is rather slow, but with fine hints of humor and carried by two great actors. In the end, there are a lot of images staying with you: Morton dancing, the slow camera flights over the desert, the neat gimmicks of technology, the sobering solution to the story. Definitely worth seeing.
Beautiful, atmospheric, pitch-perfect, absorbing, astounding, and every other adjective to assign to greatness that one can fathom. It's what would happen if Lost in Translation had been written as a loose adaptation of 1984 and Brave New World. A must see for all students of film. One of the greatest films about dystopia/aspiring utopia as well as a classic romance.More
Code 46 features a lovely setting, a futuristic world fraught with the perils of eugenics. Its most interesting quirk, among many, is the world-wide system of "cover," a sort of one-size-fits-all insurance. With it, you are afforded the luxury of living in a safe and insular utopia; without it, you're relegated to al fuera, or the harsh and dangerous outside world. It serves as a rich metaphor for the movie's recurring motif of working for feeling versus settling into it. Its two lead performers, Tim Robbins and Samantha Morton, are constantly engaging, working their hardest to let us in to these frankly bizarre characters. Unfortunately, their navigations don't accomplish much. William and Maria are indecisive, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but their choices are repetitive, and eventually exhausting. Between that and the constant shoegaze atmosphere that the movie puts forward, Code 46 almost becomes turgid. It's like sci-fi Garden State, only infinitely more clever.
I'm really not sure how to feel about this film. It's a cool movie to see and think about and promotes imagination in its viewers, and I'm sure that Michael Winterbottom made exactly the product he was aiming to make. I think it's a great mood piece, but the movie generally disregards anything else once it's established its ground rules and setting, so I think a lot of people will find it frustrating. Worth watching, but don't say I didn't warn you.
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