Review by Gordon Justesen
Tim Robbins, Samantha Morton
Director: Michael Winterbottom
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Features: See Review
Length: 93 Minutes
Release Date: December 28, 2004
am reporting a Code 46 violation.”
I was surprised to
learn that Code 46 wasn’t adapted
from any type of classic science fiction story, especially one by the likes of
Philip K. Dick. If Dick were to have ever written a commentary on illegal
romance in the future, this result would end up something like this, if not
close to it.
The screenplay by
Frank Cottrell Boyce is one of a rare science fiction. Films in this genre that
are concerned with ideas hardly ever get made. While this film doesn’t achieve
the level of something like Steven Soderbergh’s Solaris, it does remain an effective piece.
The story is more
in the vein of something like Gattaca,
another favorite of mine in the genre. Set in a futuristic time, the story
centers on William (Tim Robbins), a government investigator who is sent to
Shanghai to investigate a series of fake “papelles”, which are special
travel permits. Along the way, he has a chance encounter with a woman named
Maria (Samantha Morton).
After getting to
know her, William finds himself drawn to this woman, even though she is the
culprit in the fake permit scheme. He connects with her in such a way that he
hasn’t before with any other woman, including his wife. They share a
passionate evening together, which can only last until his papelles expires,
which is 24 hours.
When he returns to
home in Seattle, William is haunted by memories of Maria and the time they had
together. When the investigation is re-opened, he journeys back to Shanghai,
eager to track down Maria. Once he does find her, he discovers that she has been
accused of violating Code 46, which is a law stating that one genetic code
cannot be mixed with that of another genetic code structure.
Once this code is
broken, no further relationship can exist between William and Maria, since they
each carry a different genetic code. The rest of the film involves William’s
attempt to forego a forbidden romance with Maria, even under the watchful eye of
the totalitarianistic government, known as the Sphinx, keeping close watch.
picture on this release from MGM is that of a strikingly effective one, further
enhancing the futuristic atmosphere provided by director Michael Winterbottom.
Image is thoroughly clear and hugely detailed, with magnificent colors to boot.
A strong presentation all the way.
46 is a science fiction piece, it’s one driven by words rather than
effects. However, the 5.1 mix provided does make the most of what’s around.
Dialogue is delivered with utmost clarity, and the numerous set pieces provided
in this futuristic setting provide some nice enough quality surround sound.
Included on this
disc is a featurette titled “Obtaining Cover: Inside Code 46”, several
deleted scenes, a trailer, and bonus trailers for several MGM releases.