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Code 46
Code 46
Actors: Tim Robbins, Togo Igawa, Nabil Elouahabi, Samantha Morton, Sarah Backhouse
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
R     2004     1hr 32min

What if the person you desired most was the one person you were forbidden to love? OscarĀ(r) winner* Tim Robbins and OscarĀ(r) nominee** Samantha Morton "make a sexy and moving pair of desperadoes" (Entertainment Weekly) i...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: Tim Robbins, Togo Igawa, Nabil Elouahabi, Samantha Morton, Sarah Backhouse
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance, Futuristic, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 12/28/2004
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2003
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 32min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 2
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French

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Member Movie Reviews

Sharon F. (Shar) from AVON PARK, FL
Reviewed on 4/3/2021...
A rather strange love story that takes place in the future. Tim Robbins pulls off the lead character, but if this is what the future will be, then I'm glad I'm not going to be in it!
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
William B. from NINETY SIX, SC
Reviewed on 10/8/2013...
In the near future, privileged classes live and work "inside" cities, while non-citizens scratch out a miserable existence "outside" in a vast desert. People cannot leave their designated zones without special visas known as"papeles." When fraudulent papeles surface, Seattle investigator William Geld travels to Shanghai to ferret out the culprit and meets Maria Gonzalez a woman with whom he has a passionate affair but breaks one of society's harshest laws: Code 46
Elizabeth B. (bethieof96) from NINETY SIX, SC
Reviewed on 6/6/2013...
Kind of strange. Good science fiction movie.

Movie Reviews

One of the best bad movies I've ever seen.
Christian Hunter | Austin, TX and Santa Barbara, CA, | 03/29/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I can't believe it took a full glass of wine to work up the courage to write this review. Monday night is supposed to be my "thinking night"; an ascetic alternative to the typically alcohol soaked weekends. I've gone back and forth so many times about my opinion on this movie. Last night however, I decided I'd thought about reviewing this movie once to many times. So, my best shot.

As expressed in the title, I don't think Code 46 is a good movie. I agree with most of the critics as it relates to the storyline (full of holes and cliche), and I don't particularly remember a standout performance by either Tim Robbins or Samantha Morton. I do however remember the movie...often.

I've basically distilled down the value of Code 46 to this: a world-class "ambient film".

This is a beautiful movie to watch. Set in near-future Shanghai, it consistently presents vividly attractive sets, with hauntingly beautiful music. Bear with me a second here, but if you took a random collection of good movies (as a control group), and randomly snapped pictures of scenes, then hung them on a wall, my bet is that Code 46 would consistently compel a more significant emotional response.

Hardly a reason to watch this film. I'm a Sci-Fi buff, I really look forward to good plot development, good effects, good acting. This movie scores poorly in those verticals. However, with all the crummy media out there, when a certain piece comes along that leaves an impression, any impression, it's worth noting in my opinion.

This movie is worth watching. Put it on before going to bed, let the cinematography and score wash over you. It sets a powerful and interesting mood for emotion. Which is more than I can say for most.


Christian Hunter
Santa Barbara, California

Dystopian Atmosphere Where DNA & Emotions Clashes...
Kim Anehall | Chicago, IL USA | 01/04/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"In a future where the people of the world are united, the sun burns all living as the ozone layer is more or less depleted. Disease and other biological complications have led to the cloning of humans in order to restore the human species, which has also led the world to create a number of rules and one of these rules is Code 46. Code 46 states that people with 25 percent or more similar DNA cannot copulate, and if pregnancy is accomplished then the pregnancy will be terminated. In addition, if Code 46 is intentionally broken it is a criminal act which will be punished accordingly. Thus, in order to maintain the human species a dystopian atmosphere has been generated where emotion is secondary and biological purpose primary.

William (Tim Robbins), an intuitive agent for the Sphinx Corporation, arrives to Shanghai in order to investigate inside theft of papeles, paperwork that allows for travel between different zones of the world. Through the investigation William meets Maria (Samantha Morton), the thief of the papeles, but instead of handing her over to the superiors he lets her go. This displays William's personal motives as he has fallen in love with Maria, and begins to follow her immediately as she leaves the company grounds.

It is Maria's birthday and on each of her previous birthdays she had experienced a recurring dream about riding on a train that brings her one stop closer to her destiny. This birthday is the birthday that is suppose to bring her to the final stop where her destiny awaits her. When Maria bumps into William on the train, as he has been following her, she seems to grasp the moment as she invites him on an unforgettable journey as she is aware of him knowing her secret.

Through Maria's birthday celebration William gets to meet one man who has bought a papele from her, and she points out the happiness the man displays as he is given the papele. This moment of emotion is the reason for her theft of the papeles from the Sphinx Corporation, which appears to be something new for William. The supreme intuition that William possesses is the result of a virus that he has taken as viruses can function as a serviceable tool. In William's case the intuition virus aids him on to determine whether a person is telling the truth or not, however, he seems incapable of feeling and expressing the emotions that begin to emerge within him as he is lost in confusion between biological nature and empathy-like emotion.

Code 46 brings the audience a disconnected science fiction tale where empathy is a lost relic from the past, and science is what has saved mankind. Nonetheless, Winterbottom produces a story which emotionally could be compared to Lost In Translation (2003), but it does not generate the same brilliance that Sophia Coppola accomplished in her film. For example, the futuristic atmosphere is occasionally interrupted by "present time" segments such as when William rents a car. Overall, Code 46 does not bring a new concept to the relationship between emotions and science as it can be experienced in other films, but Winterbottom creates a new angle on this concept as it leaves the audience with an indifferent and clever cinematic experience with some notions to be pondered.
Incomplete and Indiscreet.
PolarisDiB | Southwest, USA | 07/10/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)

"What's interesting about this film is that almost all of the blurbs and synopses of it give it more plot than it actually has. Most of them are true in that they describe roughly what happens, but they're misrepresentative in that they don't really show how little actually happens in this movie.

A guy named William is investigating fraudalent "papelles" when he meets a woman named Maria, who he falls in love with. This is bad because due to the futuristic society where clones can cause problems with genetic discrepancies, they shouldn't breed. Thus they aren't allowed to be together and the evil society hunts them down while they attempt to run.

It's basically a series of genre conceits, which is alright except it's loosely cut--more like stapled--together with a loose assortment of ideas and a really bad voice-over. Most importantly, it doesn't go anywhere. At times it seems like it wants to have some interesting ideas, but then it decides not to explore it, instead just going on and letting us assume that this story means something.

I only found two things interesting with it: the abuses of authority William has when he has the virus and the potential Oedipal nature of his relationship with Maria. Neither were explored because it seems the writer didn't care. All we know is that these two people are apparently in love (despite next to no chemistry) and that somehow it needs to be illegal to warn about a society set too strictly. The only theme is the importance of living up to risks, but even that seems to be underdeveloped... nothing really goes anywhere here.

To be perfectly honest, it seems almost as if this movie goes on a tight budget until the money runs out... and then the filmmakers dropped everything and cut it together using serrated scissors in a dark room. It looks like everyone involved WANTS to really explore this brave new world, but nobody ultimately had the resources. However, it's practically pointless to try to think about what this film could have been, considering it pretty much isn't anything anyway.