DVD Review: CODE 46

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DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 93 minutes, Making of featurette, deleted scenes, original theatrical trailer, Previews, Species 3 promo featurette

STUDIO: MGM/United Artists

RELEASE DATE: 12-28-2004

ANALYSIS: CODE 46 is a sci-fi mood piece that is also a sci-fi love story. The chemistry between Tim Robbins and Samantha Morton is terrible. Beyond that, the movie is an ambient mood piece on the same level as SOLARIS. The music is beautiful to the core. It reached down into my soul. The cinematography is breathtaking. CODE 46 has the visual and musical flair of BLADE RUNNER. From the deserts to the streets of Shanghai, CODE 46 is a beautiful movie to look at as you watch it. The story isn't original, but the concepts within are fascinating.

William (Tim Robbins) is an investor with an empathy virus sent by the Sphinx Corporation to investigate fake papelles (travel papers that allow you to go other places) in Shanghai. He find the person responsible, Maria (Samantha Morton). He covers up for her and decides to have a 24 hour relationship with her before he decides to go back to the wife that was genetically selected for him. The near future has a law called Code 46 which means you can't have sexual relations with anyone who shares 100 %, 50%, or even 25% of the same DNA. Anyone caught violating has the encounter erased from their memory and fetuses in women are aborted.

William is told to go back to Shanghai when he gets home. He starts to look for Maria. Her memory has been tampered with. She doesn't remember her day with him. Their lives get more complicated from what they decide to next. Will a world with Code 46 allow them to be together?

The What-If scenario in CODE 46 is a cautionary tale while also playing as a love story. Unfortunately the love story fizzles due to the lack of chemistry between the two leads. Code 46 id a very dehumanizing thing top do to anyone. I wonder how far we are off from genetic engineering and human clones being part of society. What will such variables do to humankind? CODE 46 attempts to answer that.


VIDEO/AUDIO: CODE 46 is presented in 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen. Image detail is great. Colors are good too. The movie has film grain at times.

The audio track is English 5.1 Dolby Digital with the option of English, French, or Spanish subtitles. Dialogue is clear. The music is powerful. However, you will need to turn on the subtitle track at times when no-English dialogue appears in teh movie.


A fifteen minute Making Of featurette, OBTAINING COVER: INSIDE CODE 46, features interviews with the director and two stars of the movie. They talk about the themes of the movie, the unique locations they used, and the guerilla filmmaking appraoch when they shot it. Too bad there isn't an audio commentary for the movie.

Two of the three deleted scenes don't amount to much, but the other scene is interesting (I can see why it was cut, but it might have been interesting to leave it in). I'm happy MGM included the original theatrical trailer on the DVD. Also included are trailers for other MGM titles on DVD and a five minute fluff piece for the craptastic SPECIES III.

FINAL ANALYSIS: Michael Winterbottom's COE 46 is a fantastic ambient sci-fi movie that presents a scary what-if scenario. If you're looking for a different kind of sci-fi movie, check out CODE 46.

this DVD Review is (c)4-13-2005 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com and look for additional content at http://www.livejournal.com/users/enterlinemedia