Code 46


Code 46

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Reviews Counted: 101

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Average Rating: 3.3/5

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Movie Info

In the not-so-distant future, a married man investigates a counterfeiter and ends up the perpetrator of an ethical crime in Code 46, the latest film from prolific British director Michael Winterbottom. Set against the backdrop of a technologically advanced Shanghai, where people are only allowed to travel between countries with official passports called "papelles," the film charts the efforts of Seattle native William (Tim Robbins) to get to the bottom of a contraband-papelle operation within the walls of a high-tech company that manufactures them. There he finds Maria (Samantha Morton), an enigmatic young woman who may or may not be selling the passports on the black market. William has a brief affair with Maria, which, despite his attempts to return home, causes him to become embroiled in an even bigger controversy in Shanghai.

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Tim Robbins
as William
Om Puri
as Backland
David Fahm
as Damian Alekan
Shelley King
as William's boss
Togo Igawa
as Driver
Sarah Backhouse
as Weather Girl
Natalie Jackson Mendoza
as Sphinx Receptionist
Lien Nguyin
as Singer in Nightclub
Tuyet Le
as Apartment Security
Nina Wadia
as Hospital Receptionist
Jennifer Lim
as Tester with Couple
Paul Barnes
as Man in Corridor
Nabil Massad
as Sunglasses Man
Kerry Shale
as Clinic Doctor
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Critic Reviews for Code 46

All Critics (101) | Top Critics (34)

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.

Wildaly M
Wildaly M

Super Reviewer

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.

Jens S.
Jens S.

Super Reviewer

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.

_kelly .King
_kelly .King

Super Reviewer


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.

Drew Smith
Drew Smith

Super Reviewer

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