Code 46 is a love story set in a Brave New World-type near-future where cities are heavily controlled and only accessible through checkpoints. People cannot travel unless they have "papeles" (papers in Spanish; words and sentences in many languages, especially Spanish, French and Chinese are mixed with English in this new world), a special travel permit issued by the totalitarian government, the "Sphinx". Outside these cities, the desert has taken over and shanty towns are jammed with non-citizens - people without IDs forced to live primitive lives. William is a family man who works as a government investigator. When he is sent to Shanghai to solve a case of fake IDs, he meets a woman named Maria. Although he realizes she is behind the forgeries, he cannot help but fall completely in love with her. He hides her crime and they have a wild, passionate affair that can only last as long as his visa: 24 hours. Back home, William is obsessed with the memory of Maria. When the original ... Written by
Code 46 refers to the 22 chromosome pairs, plus the two sex chromosomes in human beings. See more »
The numerous seeming "errors in geography" are actually an intentional artistic choice. Because the film is set in a future where global cultures have become thoroughly merged, Michael Winterbottom purposely blended footage shot in Shanghai, Dubai and Rajastahn so that Shanghai has a desert outside it, etc. See more »
code 46 / article 1 / any human being who shares the same nuclear gene set as another human being is deemed to be genetically identical. the relations of one are the relations of all. / due to IVF, DI embryo splitting and cloning techniques it is necessary to prevent any accidental or deliberate genetically incestuous reproduction. / therefore: / i. all prospective parents should be genetically screened before conception. if they have 100%, 50% or 25% genetic identity, they are not...
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There is a looped animation running next to the names during the final credits. It shows a variety of things, including chromosomes, chromosome replication, and chemical structures. See more »
'Code 46' is the most beautiful film I've seen in quite some time. It's funny how something entirely new is produced when the properties of film noir and futuristic sci-fi are married. Like 'Until the End of the World,' 'Strange Days,' and 'Gattaca,' three films which 'Code 46' potently recalls, this is above all else a mood piece, wherein character and plot are secondary to the drifty, elegiac flow of the film.
The action is underplayed, and the performances have an earthy tone; Tim Robbins recalls William Hurt in 'Until the End of the World' and Bill Murray in 'Lost in Translation,' in that his perpetual jet lag has cultivated an easy, weary charm. The movie is set, one gathers, in the future (or an "alternative present," to paraphrase another reviewer). Like the best futuristic films, it's set on the same planet Earth, but the planet's simply been restructured; the old occupants have left and the new ones have moved in. No longer are there countries, only cities, only business destinations.
Pleasure is not a goal, but a side effect. The locations photographed are, as in 'Alphaville,' as in 'Sans Soleil,' not manipulated or artificial, but they are photographed in a new way. Contemporary cities look futuristic, commercial, busy, cold, with pools of dark glass and beads of light from skyscraper windows. For me, this kind of imagery is the among the most romantic and evocative. Cold, impersonal environments like these simultaneously forbid and necessitate human warmth. Intimacy becomes something to escape into.
Michael Winterbottom and his screen-writing partner Frank Cottrell Boyce have done great work before, and inevitably, a lot of viewers and critics are dismissing 'Code 46' as a number of things, including listless and convoluted, but I think that's symptomatic of approaching this film with the wrong expectations. Far beyond simply being a trivial footnote in what will hopefully be a career of formidable longevity, I think 'Code 46' is perhaps Winterbottom's best work yet, the movie I intuited Winterbottom had dormant in him. The movie has a sort of purging effect, like Wenders' 'Until the End of the World,' and as with that film, my immediate environment felt different to me, changed, upon exiting the theater.
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