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Code 46 2003

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3.1 out of 5 stars (42) IMDb 6.3/10
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Sci-fi romance directed by Michael Winterbottom. In a Brave New World-style dystopian near future, family man William (Tim Robbins) is a government investigator sent to get to the bottom of a counterfeiting ring which is producing fake 'papelles' - the compulsory travel permits issued to the elite by the totalitarian government. Through his investigations he meets a mysterious young woman, Maria (Samantha Morton), with whom he falls passionately in love - despite the fact that he knows she is behind the forgeries. When William takes actions to cover up her crime, he finds himself becoming increasingly embroiled in the political controversy surrounding the case.

Starring:
Tim Robbins, Om Puri
Rental Formats:
DVD

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 30 minutes
Starring Tim Robbins, Om Puri, Jeanne Balibar, Samantha Morton
Director Michael Winterbottom
Genres Drama, Romance, Science Fiction
Rental release 14 February 2005
Main languages English

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Visually original and with some fine performances from Samantha Morton and Tim Robbins, Code 46 could probably be forgiven for being a cluttered, and rather confusing mishmash of ideas, themes and genres. The movie uses the cityscapes from the world as it is now, to convey a future of harshly, prohibited genetic matching, where travel is a luxury for those people living "inside," where a person's memory can be wiped in an instant, and where society is controlled by special codified passports called "papelles," which are de rigor for those individuals who want to move through the safe but administered urban zones.
William Geld (a really good Tim Robbins) is an insurance investigator who goes to Shanghai to investigate a factory where counterfeit papelles are being produced. His inquiries cast suspicion on Maria (a frantic Samantha Morton), and the two have a brief, intense affair, and eventually fall in love. In a system which potential parents are screened and unauthorized pregnancies terminated and supported by a technology of selective memory erasure, William and Maria discover that they are not permitted to cohabitate.
William and Maria have both violated code 46; a strictly policed law intended to prevent any accidental or deliberate genetically incestuous reproduction. How William and Maria navigate through these maze of restrictions, and the choices they have to make between comfort and freedom form the thematic core of the movie. It's probably much harder for them to remember their relationship than it is for them to forget it.
It takes about 30 minutes for anything to actually make any sense in this movie.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Usually when a film has a mix of reviews, some calling it tedious and others calling it thoughtful, I end up enjoying it. Not this one, alas.

It's very well made, with some powerful acting, a great musical score and a lovely use of huge sweeping urban landscapes from the present to depict the future. Yet the dialogue is often confusing (and hard to follow - making the absence of subtitles annoying), the plot slow moving and the film's promising ideas about genetic manipulation and manipulation of memory remain superficial rather than being fleshed out into substantive points.

The Orwellian future painted is very skillfully done, but what happens against that backdrop is a disappointment.
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Format: DVD
The problem with a film like this is that people tend to personalize what they get out of it to such an extent that it's hard for someone who hasn't seen it to know what they are likely to end up watching. Viewers can give a film like this as much or as little depth as they like. And having seen it I don't know what exactly it is I've watched. It is sci-fi, it is romance, it has a touch of the thriller, and a dollop of the mood piece, it is pedestrian yet not exactly plodding. It is a mess, but only in so much that a mixed chow mein might look a mess but is actually enjoyable to eat. However, for me the mix didn't work that well and I grew bored with this film, despite the interesting overseas sets and photography, the competent but not exactly strenuous acting, the reasonable script, and the 'have/have not' and other issues that might be found in the film. I thought those that lived outside the 'system' had more interesting or colourful lifestyles than those in it, who tended to be futuristic versions of the nine-to-five commuting rat racers we see nowadays. That's not saying that one is better than the other, because like this film it's hard to quantify and qualify objectively. I guess like life, this film is whatever you want it to be.
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Format: DVD
This film is pure poetry from start to finish, the blend of music and film combined to give a very satisfying experience. Who said this film doesn't have a story? I got more out of this than Translation which was a little too simplistic for my taste. At least this had the threat of Government/Global beaurocracy lurking in the background at all times to give a feel to the forbidden relationship. I loved it, and if you like your films to leave an acquired taste in your mouth like that of good wine...give it a go, it won't disappoint.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Code 46 is one of my favorite movies. I love the futuristic setting and Tim robbins and Samantha Morton are both great as two people that are in love, but can't be together. I think this film suits those that loves a mix of science fiction and romance.
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Format: DVD
Alienation is the common thread to so much cinema lately, with this near future pic exploring relationships complicated by genetics; too many clones. Everything here you've seen before, but the montage is so powerful it remains more than fresh. It's an accomplishment that further proves Winterbottom's incredible range and versatility. With extra marks for the soundtrack.
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By Call me Al TOP 500 REVIEWER on 1 Jun. 2015
Format: DVD
Stunning cinematography produces undoubtedly one of the most convincing depictions of the near future I have seen in a film. Shot in Shanghai, Dubai and Rajasthan Michael Winterbottom places before us haunting images which show a world divided between those fortunate to live inside high-density cities and a poor underclass condemned to live ‘outside’. Access to the cities is highly restricted and regulated and the global government is dystopian and authoritarian, controlling society by various ‘codes’. Code 46 prohibits ‘genetically incestuous reproduction’, which may occur as a result of the various medical technologies which have become commonplace, such as cloning. The pace of the narrative is slow and ethereal involving a doomed illicit love affair violating this code and despite the inevitable tension surrounding this surreptitious liaison the ‘action’ is minimal. This film is chillingly believable with images which linger long in the mind and its resolution is as devastatingly clinical as the world in which it occurs. I will be watching this again.
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