« Levers — a pleasant on-line game | Home | Why can't statistical theory predict catastrophes? »

March 11, 2005

Code 46


I watched this movie on DVD last night.

I only heard of it when I read a favorable mention of it in The Financial Times last year.

I pre-ordered it from amazon, then forgot about it.

I do this a lot: sometimes the release date is six months or more from today, but so what?

When it arrives, it's like found money: oh, will you look at that.

So, to the movie.

It's a really, really good futuristic - say, around 2040 - dystopian thriller/romance.

Stars Tim Robbins, who I'm really growing to like a lot as an actor, and Samantha Morton (one of the precogs in "Minority Report," here with a relatively thick head of hair, at least an inch long).

Directed by Michael Winterbottom, it was clearly shot in Shanghai, where the present-day architecture lends itself quite nicely to the city a few decades hence, the setting for much of the film.

Code 46 is one of the laws in force: it states that people who share significant amounts of their genetic code are not allowed to "liase."

If they do, and a child results, and the parent(s) didn't know they were related, the child is aborted.

If one or both of the parents knew they shared code, it is a criminal offense, severely punished.

The reason for these sanctions is that up to two dozen clones of a given embryo are produced and carried to term in the highly regulated society.

So it is very possible for clones to partner with others and have their offspring then meet.

Robbins plays an investigator for a state-supported FBI-like security apparatus, in charge of tracking down violations of "cover" - permission to be in a given place.

Morton works at "The Sphinx," the governmental arm which produces high-security cover documents called "papels."

Their paths cross, and the movie happens.

Behind it, suffusing it, making it wonderful, is a meditative, beautiful soundtrack.

As I watched I wished, knowing it wasn't likely to be available, I could buy the soundtrack.

Imagine my surprise - and pleasure - when I went to amazon and found that, indeed, there were others like me:


the soundtrack exists.

The movie's a bit difficult at first, because Morton's adopted a funny kind of accent that's hard to decipher.

Then, you realize that people speak a kind of patois, with all sorts of French, Italian, and Spanish words ("papel") used as part of common speech.

After about twenty minutes, you wish we did the same, it sounds so natural and appealing.

Highly recommended.

Note: you might wonder why it is that most movies and books and suchlike I write about here are "highly recommended."

The explanation is simple: I'm not gonna waste my energy and your time on telling why I disliked something - for the most part.

Sure, every now and then there's a negative review of something, but when I remember, I try to not bother with things that don't, or won't, or can't, in some way, make your life and world better.

And that's all I have to say about that.

March 11, 2005 at 07:31 PM | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Code 46:


i saw the movie today ... awesome and like you i found myself hoping there was a soundtrack ... great music and visually stunning ... it was so good to see a movie that wasnt cookie cutter hollywood junk

Posted by: lemon blur@aol.com | Mar 20, 2005 11:04:28 AM

>>It's a really, really good futuristic - say, >>around 2040 - dystopian thriller/romance.

This was such a DRY movie to say the least. I don't even know where to begin. In fact, I won't even bother. Save your time/money.

Poor selection IMHO

Posted by: Server | Mar 14, 2005 3:31:36 PM

You're probably all aware of this, but another bit of media which uses an invented dialect (based on an amalgam of real languages) to great effect is the book A Clockwork Orange. There is, of course, also the movie. But the movie doesn't do justice to the linguistic genius of the book.

Posted by: nudicle | Mar 11, 2005 8:51:06 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.