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Code 46 (2003)

Cast: Tim Robbins, Tim Robbins, Samantha Morton, more...
Director: Michael Winterbottom, Michael Winterbottom
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: MGM
Genre: Foreign, Science Fiction , UK
Running Time: 93 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
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GreenCine Member Reviews

too much science fiction, not enough plot by alexjb November 28, 2005 - 10:09 PM PST
1 out of 2 members found this review helpful
i love science fiction done well, and this movie has a lot of those elements.

there are several clever science fiction concepts in this film, as pointed out at length by another reviewer. they're explored creatively and with much more finesse than usual. and it's true that the visuals paint an excellent future-view, supporting and underlying the broad picture that's being painted of the state of the world in the future, adding to the background implied by the main plot points. kudos to the director and production staff.

BUT - we need more than that to make a movie, people! samantha morton looks and sounds mildly disturbing (much as she did in Minority Report, except here there's no character-based reason for it - somone draw some eyebrows on her and give her some lipstick!!). the romance between her and tim robbins is thin and not convincing - there's actually a subtle nod to oedipus that could explain it, but it's pretty weak.

overall, it just doesn't really go anywhere. as an action story, it's too slow and lacks an edge. meanwhile, if it's a lovestory, it lacks for emotional motivation and dramatic interaction.

while succeeding where most science fiction movies fail, they failed in the most essential aspects of storytelling.

Caution: Weak Screenplay Ahead... by MMeldola March 26, 2005 - 11:20 AM PST
1 out of 4 members found this review helpful
Code 46 is not actually a 90 minute commercial of the future, but as I watched, I kept wondering, why do I feel like I am watching a commercial? Are they selling a ticket to the future?

Code 46 has one interesting idea; future biotechnicians develop a virus that increases empathy to the point where the person "exposed" to the virus can read someone's mind. But one idea does not make an intelligent science fiction film. Admittedly, Code 46 is neither a star wars epic, nor a green-skinned alien visitation movie, nor an invasion of earth snatchers flic. Yet it is not, by default, a "thinking (wo)man's" science fiction. The plot, like the soundtrack, is flat.

Tim Robbins and the rest of the cast are up to the challenge of a dynamic script. The cinematographers are top shelf. Perhaps in Code 47 or 48, they might be lucky enough to have a screenplay derived from a true author. To drop some names, how about Lem, Aldiss or Ballard.

Fine, Fine Sci-Fi - The anti-"Minority Report" by gbraren January 20, 2005 - 5:14 PM PST
7 out of 8 members found this review helpful
If you disliked "Minority Report" and love science fiction cinema, you will probably find this film a gratifying experience. Perhaps it is because of the transparent flat screen monitors that are all over this film, as in "MR," that that Spielberg offense to all things PKD (as well as just good screenwriting in general) comes to mind. Only in Winterbottom's film Tom Cruise isn't always doing a silly dance in front of the screens.

The most striking aspect of "Code 46" I found to be the incredible location photography in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Dubai and Rajasthan, which is used to evoke the impression of a futuristic environment, relying only on features of the modern cityscape rather than special effects. Other great uses of this technique that immediately come to mind are "Alphaville" and the Earth sequence in Tarkovsky's "Solaris." Aside from the impeccably composed and effective futuristic city shots, all of the cinematography is immaculate - easily the finest and most memorable I have seen in any film in the year 2004.

Director Winterbottom caught my attention last year with "24 Hour Party People," and this film is amongst his best work. His collaborations with writer Frank Cottrell Boyce get better and better which each new film. In "Code 46" they acheive something that all great SF - literary, cinematic or otherwise - does (a simple genre feature so often missed especially in big, loud overproduced sci-fi action movies of recent years). They provide the details of a future world without spelling it all out, allowing the viewer's imagination to take hold, creating meaning and connection where none are directly provided, increasing the emotional and intellectual interface between film and audience. The details here include human cloning, viruses that augment or control mental processes, memory manipulation, a much hotter world where most people do business by night, an Inside/Outside global society paradigm where technology is the great dividing line. No origins or reasons are given. This is simply the world of the two main characters.

I was actually a bit disappointed by Tim Robbins and Samantha Morton in the first act or so. Their characters seemed written rather thin. Their motivations rather simplistic. But the fine writing and subtle acting emerge in some very effective and engaging twists, and their realities become much more sympathetic and intriguing, if not ultimately truly heartbreaking. These are people manipulated not only by technology but also by their emotions and dreams. The film is full of compelling ideas about memory and identity based on this dialectic.

David Holmes' score is very cool (as Free Association), much more interesting than his stuff for Soderbergh's movies. The film also features excellent use of a Coldplay song.

This is highly recommended sci-fi. I can't believe it's not on more people's best-of list, because it is one of the finest films I've seen in 2004.

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GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.06)
104 Votes
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