Code 46

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Movie Review by Neils Hesse

Starring: Tim Robbins, Samantha Morton, Om Puri, Jeanne Balibar
Director: Michael Winterbottom

William (Tim Robbins) lives in the not so distant future where he works as an investigator. He has a virus that allows him to read people’s minds and this proves to be very useful in his line of work. He is sent to China to investigate the theft of ‘papelles’ from an insurance company. A papelle is a device of sorts that enables the holder to travel from one place to another. After interviewing several employees he discovers that a girl called Maria (Samantha Morton) is the guilty party but he chooses to pinpoint someone else instead and finds himself drawn to Maria. He follows her and she approaches him inviting him for a drink where he witnesses her giving a papelle to a man who had been trying unsuccessfully for years to get one. She tells William that she likes the look on people’s faces when she gives them the papelles that make their dreams come true.

They end up spending the night together and then in the morning he leaves to go back to his country but upon arrival he is ordered to return to China to finish the job as the thefts are still going on. When he returns he finds that Maria has been admitted into a clinic for a code 46 violation. Code 46 is a rule that states that two people of similar genetic identities must not have any sexual relations, and Maria it turns out is pregnant with William’s baby, which is of the same genetic identity as her, so the baby is aborted as per regulation. Even then William finds that his attraction to Maria is something he cannot ignore so on impulse they flee from China to a less technologically controlled country to discover why he cannot seem to be without this woman, but all the odds are against them.

With average performances across the board that are not helped by a story that doesn’t seem certain of itself, CODE 46 is neither sci-fi, a love story or drama. It’s a bit of all of these but alas it doesn’t mix well and ends up being very ineffective on all levels.

Michael Winterbottom delivers some very good shots of China that have an intriguing futuristic yet current look and appeal but this is not enough to save the movie from its poorly shaped screenplay.

All in all for fans of the director or stars it is passable but best viewed at home.

3 out of 6 stars