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
Mick Jones of The Clash sings the Clash song "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" in the karaoke-esque club scene, but he appears to get the words wrong. The song goes "If I go there will be trouble. If I STAY it will be double", but he sings "If I go there will be trouble. If I GO it will be double". 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 »
Song No. 6
Written by Fatboy Slim (as Norman Cook) and Ashley Slater
Used by kind permission of Universal Music Publishing Limited
Performed by Freakpower
Courtesy of Universal-Island Records
Licensed by Kind of Permission from
The Universal Film and TV Licensing Division See more »
It makes you wonder where all the ordinary grown-ups come from.
Take moments of Blade Runner, the lost themes of Lost in Translation, and the haunting images of Gattaca and mix them all into a big bowl, your final product would look something like Code 46. Winterbottom's vivid imagination and intelligent storytelling is proved once again as he successfully builds another chapter into sci-fi's growing history. His ability to take a simple story about a forbidden love and transform it to a different time and culture was outstanding. His themes of love, laws, and family are so dominate that he is able to handle them with the greatest of ease and use them to even paint a bolder picture. Code 46 is an instant Winterbottom classic with the professionally superb acting by Robbins and Morton, the cinematic eye candy of our future, as well as a tight script that allows the viewer experience it over and over with new references every time. Winterbottom proves that no genre is too small for him to tackle.
To begin, look at that chemistry between Robbins and Morton. The sparks were literally flying out of my television when they were together on-screen. Their presence together fueled this film to a new level by creating a truth to their relationship. We were rooting for something that was illegal in today's society as well as this fictitious futuristic one. That is a hard concept to grasp for most audiences, but with Winterbottom behind the camera guiding this masters through the motions, it came across as nothing more than pure art. Robbins has this ability to make every character he touches into this humanistic screen element of yourself. You see yourself in this man as he struggles with the truths that surround him. He isn't just having an affair, he is in love with someone that the law will not allow. That would be hard to pull off for any actor, but Robbins seems to hit his mark with ease. Morton is no different. She has proved time and time again that she can handle the intense films, and Code 46 is yet another demonstration. She handles herself so well, giving us so much from those big eyes that seem to speak for themselves. We sympathize with her dilemma and want her to continue so that Robbins and her can meet again and again. She is a very complex character with more layers that I could count, yet we see each and every one of them in Morton's role. She holds nothing back and honestly gives 100% throughout the entire film. That is hard for any actor to do, but Morton does it with the greatest of ease. It is obvious that she will continue to be a strong cinematic force in Hollywood.
Second to the phenomenal acting, you have a brilliantly colorful future. While robots and genetics seem to be the dark horse of this civilization, it is a guiding light to see love emerge from it all. The beauty of the city only enhances this sensation even stronger. The contrast between the city and the desert looming outside shows no blurred lines. It helps us to see the symbolic references to our society and the lack of change to this new one. Winterbottom pulls no punches with his cinematography, taking ideas from Blade Runner and Gattaca, he thrives on the night and sunlight to show the horror and beauty of the surroundings. He does not color coat anything with fake CGI, but instead places you in this very realistic world that could eerily happen tomorrow (watch the current news and you will see the reference). Winterbottom does a great job of giving us both dimensions of this multi-faceted world.
Finally, I have to applaud Winterbottom for the script that he chose. Frank Boyce clearly has done his homework in both the sci-fi genre as well as the love-interest films. He successfully combines the two into this brilliant display of both modern and post-modern culture. He clearly defines the emotion of love through our characters, then throws a big shock through the system halfway into this epic. What we know, or thought we knew about his world changes instantly, but in a very calm and crisp way. He also imaginatively creates this era where languages do not divide us, but instead is required to know throughout the world. I thoroughly loved the idea that everyone knows all languages. It broke the thought that this was going to be an American film. The concept of the virus was impeccable. While not much is said about this invention, the consequences that it has on the film continually keep us on our toes. The mind-shattering voice overs coupled with the actors struggle only proves that Code 46's entire team was dedicated to the project, and sometimes that is a rarity in Hollywood.
Overall, I thought this was a welcomed change to the recycled love story syndrome that seems to plague our screens as well as a bold step in the sci-fi direction. Winterbottom continues to break new boundaries with his random choices of projects that impresses over and over and over again. For those of you that did not understand this film, I ask (wait, request) that you see it again. It cannot be enjoyed with just one viewing. Code 46 is a multi-view film that opens itself more and more to you the more often you watch it. This emotional film brought tears to my wife's eyes. Impressive and challenging! Thanks, Mr. Winterbottom!
Grade: ***** out of *****
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