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

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

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

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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 Yenke), a teacher for the deaf who is at odds with his resolute African clan. The catalyst for the stories begins on a streetcorner, where Anne's brother-in-law Jean (Alexandre Hamadi) insults Maria, who is begging for change; incensed, Amadou picks a fight with Jean, resulting in negative repercussions for the triptych of protagonists. Throughout, Haneke punctuates the action with his unique editing and use of sound. After its Cannes debut, Code Inconnu made its North American premiere at the 2000 Toronto International Film Festival. ~ Michael Hastings, Rovi

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

All Critics (51) | Top Critics (16)

The violence, in short, remains unseen, but that makes it no easier to bear; what lurks and wails behind a wall is, for Haneke, the most reliable wellspring of dread.

Full Review… | August 27, 2014
New Yorker
Top Critic

A procession of long virtuoso takes that typically begin and end in the middle of actions or sentences, constituting not only an interactive jigsaw puzzle but a thrilling narrative experiment.

Full Review… | August 27, 2014
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A searing, structurally ingenious look at racial tension on the streets of Paris.

Full Review… | August 27, 2014
AV Club
Top Critic

All this unrelenting bleakness would be fine if it went someplace interesting, but the film's themes never coalesce into anything beyond basic existential angst.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Variety
Top Critic

Despite the film's Bressonian rigours, its emotional force should finally give the lie to Haneke's reputation as a coldly academic film-maker.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Code Unknown is a film that will thrill connoisseurs of alienation and loneliness, and I say that with the utmost sincerity.

Full Review… | May 19, 2004
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

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

½

An intelligent, post-structuralist narrative exercise that, shot in a series of single-take fragments, plays with the structural codes that form the basis of storytelling to reflect how people are unable to understand each other in this society with their very own signs (languages, gestures, cultures, moral values).

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

½

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.

Mark Abell
Mark Abell

Super Reviewer

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

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

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