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Code Unknown (Code inconnu: Récit incomplet de divers voyages) (2000)



Average Rating: 6.9/10
Reviews Counted: 38
Fresh: 27 | Rotten: 11

Though challengingly cryptic at times, Code Unknown still manages to resonate.


Average Rating: 7.2/10
Critic Reviews: 10
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 2

Though challengingly cryptic at times, Code Unknown still manages to resonate.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 4,936

My Rating

Movie Info

German-born filmmaker Michael Haneke continues the bleak, formalist experimentation of his 1994 breakthrough 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance with this similarly fragmented tale of racism, intolerance, and hatred in modern-day Paris. The focus of the narrative is split between three sets of people: the French actress Anne (Juliette Binoche), her husband and in-laws; a Romanian woman, Maria (Luminita Gheorghiu), who struggles to raise money for her family back home; and Amadou (Ona Lu


Art House & International, Drama

Michael Haneke

Aug 6, 2002

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All Critics (45) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (27) | Rotten (11) | DVD (3)

At the center of the film -- the real reason it was made -- is Binoche, one of the genuinely radiant presences in movies today.

June 27, 2002 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Awash in ravishing images ... that will haunt you long after you leave the theater.

June 10, 2002 Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Haneke has a sure way with actors -- allowing them to seem to be living rather than acting their roles -- tat matches his ability to capture the rhythms and routines of everyday life with a graceful, unstudied ease.

June 7, 2002 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Code Unknown gets at the ache and angst of the human condition in ways that shiver with telling detail and the machinations of real life. It's powerful.

May 24, 2002
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Beautifully shot and acted, particularly by Juliette Binoche.

March 14, 2002 Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The wonderful Binoche ... hot-wires what could have been a coldly intellectual film.

March 1, 2002 Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The director toys with the entire idea of unlocking the code of violence, the small and individually insignificant elements that add up to tales of either joy or horror.

June 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Scouts
Film Scouts

Michael Haneke's only attempt to be emotionally salient.

October 5, 2006

[Haneke's] socio-political condemnations assume an aggressively hectoring tone.

September 7, 2006 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

Packed with provocative ideas and fragments of provocative ideas.

February 14, 2003 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Even if it's a bit 'foreign' and arty, it's also consistently gripping, thoughtful, powerful stuff, assembled in an unusual way that catches us off guard and never preaches.

December 31, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

An interesting concept... [but] one doomed by a lack of characterization, Code Unknown remains a jumble of unknowable elements.

August 26, 2002 Full Review Source: Entertainment Today
Entertainment Today

A truly absorbing drama.

August 11, 2002 Full Review Source: Matinee Magazine
Matinee Magazine

This French-language film is fiercely intellectual and thoughtful.

July 9, 2002 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
Jam! Movies

Tackles contemporary cosmopolitan ennui with unfailing sensitivity and perceptiveness, and that more than makes its stories worth knowing.

June 7, 2002 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Daily News
Los Angeles Daily News

Thankfully a step backward from the moral abyss represented in Funny Games.

June 6, 2002
New Times

While it alludes to themes concerning xenophobia, communication and social responsibility, ultimately the film amounts to little more than a collection of stark, uneven vignettes.

June 5, 2002 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

Manages to disturb, getting under your skin whether you want it to or not.

May 3, 2002 Full Review Source: Oregonian

As an intellectual exercise, it's quite distinguished. As a drama, its reach exceeds its grasp.

March 18, 2002 Full Review Source: One Guy's Opinion
One Guy's Opinion

It doesn't endorse narrow-mindedness, but instead, uses it as a topic to illustrate just how brilliantly broad-minded filmmaking can be.

March 5, 2002 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for Code Unknown (Code inconnu: Récit incomplet de divers voyages)

Code Unknown is a relatively subtle piece considering it's from Haneke, just when you think it is going to go down the somewhat cliched 'Chaos theory' route it doesn't and his unfinished approach to films possibly works best here. It can be frustrating at times though as some characters get more development than others but it also has its brilliant intense moments that Haneke is now famous for. The scene with the little boy next to the pool is a real edge of your seat moment. All in all, really good, it certainly has hints of his later and in my opinion, best works so a good introduction to the director.
April 18, 2011

Super Reviewer

Very complex intertwining stories about life in modern society. Sort of like Crash, only for Adults.
June 23, 2008

Super Reviewer

A strange tale, if indeed it can be called that. The subtitle, "Incomplete Tales of Several Journeys" sums it up pretty well. Juliette Binoche was lovely and carried the film. The rest was just window dressing and had no obvious connecting narrative, or meaning, beyond each individual scene. The use of jarring jump cuts from one scene to the next emphasized the discontinuity and left one somewhat bewildered as to how it all fit together. That obviously was the director's intention, but it just didn't work for this viewer. If this was supposed to spotlight the way the various characters interconnected, then it succeeded on only a most superficial level. Their lives may have intersected briefly, but one could hardly call it any more than that. Quite disappointing overall.
June 2, 2010
Mark Abell

Super Reviewer

An engrossing, cleverly constructed film from Michael Haneke (Hidden, The Piano Teacher). Since Haneke continually refuses to answer any questions regarding his films or the meaning of his themes (a word he hates), I can only offer my own opinion as to what is going on here. Incomplete scenes showing moments in the lives of a French African teacher in a school for the deaf, a Romanian refugee, a photographer, a teenage runaway and an aspiring actress are cut together, possibly in sequential order, and intersect and connect in various, sometimes subtle ways. The film seems to be about the ways in which these characters feel alienated in society. There are breakdowns in communication because of generational differences, xenophobia, apathy, personal aspirations and more besides. Each 'moment' finishes with an abrupt blackout, sometimes with characters in mid sentence, and the couple of seconds between two segments often feels likes a chance to absorb what is going on, or allow for a 'breather'. Aside from one ingenious segment where the question of reality comes into focus, each scene is filmed without cuts, either with the camera positioned statically or on tracks, which seems to both heighten realism whilst maintaining an artificial feel, if that's even possible. I'm not exactly sure if the film is entirely successful and some of the scenes feel superfluous, but there's some gripping and thoughtful stuff here. Juliette Binoche is especially excellent as the actress, with one particularly stand-out scene where she rehearses for a film role direct to camera; her performance (of a performance) had me utterly gripped for the few minutes the section lasted.
November 28, 2007

Super Reviewer

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  • Code Unknown (Code inconnu: Recit incomplet de divers voyages) (DE)
  • Code Inconnu (Code Unknown) (UK)
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