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Code 46 DVD

A 2004 science fiction / love story film.

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Futurelife: Another View of Genetic Policing

  • Jan 10, 2005
  • by
CODE 46 is a rule in a world sometime in the not too distant future which states that it is a crime to combine like DNA at the 100% -50% -25% level. In other words cloning with like data participants is verboten, a punishable crime for which the perpetrators can be thrown on the 'outside' of the otherwise bubble-like realm of the Sphinx Who Knows Best, and for which abortions of conceived similar gene-based fetuses is mandatory.

Michael Winterbottom has created a bizarre netherland that is called Shanghai, a place where people communicate in a charming mixture of French, Spanish, English, Arabic, Chinese etc. Mobility in this 'world state' is limited by the company who governs the issuing of 'covers' (read 'passports') and when fake covers begin to appear an investigator from Seattle (Tim Robbins), who has a virus that allows him to intuit people from one shared bit of information, arrives on the scene. He identifies one Maria (Samantha Morton) who has been narrating our story and whose birthday has arrived, as the possible source of false covers. They meet, have a sexual liaison, and part - only to discover that they are genetically related and therefore have violated Code 46. The manifestations of how this works out is the ending of the film and best left unsaid.

Normally I avoid sci-fi movies, but this film is fairly intelligent and a bit more interesting than most because of the strange feeling that it occurs a time in the very near future. The performances by the always fine Tim Robbins and Samantha Morton add to the success of this film. While it is not a great movie, CODE 46 does raise some moral issues and probes the nihilism philosophy we all face. With genetic engineering becoming a common topic, this cadenza on the theme is an interesting and thoughtful one. Grady Harp, January 2005

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More Code 46 (2004 movie) reviews
review by . January 21, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Code 46 poster
Unlike most films that fall into the science fiction category, Code 46 doesn't rely on complicated visual effects or elaborate action sequences. Instead the film takes a more internalized approach, focusing its attention on character and story development. Both subtle and poignant, the film acts as a cautionary tale about the role that genetic science plays in the social class system. Touching upon such controversial issues as cloning human beings and incestuous love, the film manages to be provocative …
review by . December 23, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
This movie has very realistic, great-looking sets, good music, and accomplished actors. It is also rather plodding, relying on scenery to take the place of dialog, and meaningful looks to take the place of character development.     And the movie's message? To me it seemed to be that the government doesn't want you to have a baby with your sister, so it is illegal. Gotta say, if I interpreted that correctly, I'm gonna have to side with the government on this one.    Maybe …
About the reviewer
Grady Harp ()
Ranked #96
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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About this movie


LikeGattacadid before it,Code 46extrapolates from the present to posit a chilling, dystopian look at our genetically regimented future. In the corporate-controlled, near-future scenario presented by prolific director Michael Winterbottom and his regular screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce, nations and languages have merged to form a polyglot society in which genetic imperfections are avoided by the strict enforcement of Code 46, which prohibits sex between people who share 100%, 50%, or even 25% matching DNA. As an insurance-fraud investigator in Shanghai to investigate the issuance of forged passports (a major offense in an overcrowded world), Tim Robbins meets his prime suspect (Samantha Morton, echoing her role inMinority Report), and their violation of Code 46 has tragic and ultimately dehumanizing repercussions. Fascinating as a "what-if" scenario, Winterbottom's film is more successful as a melancholy mood-piece than a science-fiction tale. While the plot and characters suffer from occasionally vague definition,Code 46offers a fascinating study of human longing in an age of oppressive globalization.--Jeff Shannon
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Genre: Drama, Film-Noir, Romance, Sci-Fi
Release Date: August 6, 2004
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: December 28, 2004
Runtime: 1hr 25min
Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
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