Posted by: jgurner | February 1, 2011

The Cheap Bin – Code 46

EDITOR’S NOTE: Anita and I pull a lot of movies from the various DVD “cheap bins.” Quite often, they are movies we’ve never even heard of or may have only heard the name. Sometimes we decide to get it because of the cast, or the blurb on the case or we thought we heard something good about the movie. Sometimes I don’t have a clue why we get them. But, since these are often the bulk of the movies we watch, I thought I’d start doing an occasional review. Often, these movies are years, even decades old, but, it’s nice to take a look back at something that might actually be really, really good (or not).

Code 46

Starring: Tim Robbins, Samantha Morton

Directed by: Michael Winterbottom; Written by: Frank Cotrell Boyce

Movie Gallery Going Out of Busines sale – $1

Never heard of it. Didn’t know a thing about it. Bu the synopsis on the case sounded pretty interesting and it had Tim Robbins in it. Plus, it was a 10 for $10 deal and I had to find some stuff to finish out my 10 (or actually 20) DVDs.

The Story: It’s not too terribly far in the future and a big chunk of the human population are apparently test tube babies.  Tim Robbins is an investigator who, using an empathy virus, is sent out to find the culprit smuggling out illegal documentation that allows people to enter the cities and to travel. He finds the person responsible, but is strangely attracted to her and doesn’t turn her in. Instead, they have a one-night stand which ends up violating Code 46 – which forbids getting freaky with someone who is a significant genetic match. From there, bad things happen.

This movie has been sitting on the shelf unwatched and forgotten for almost a year, but Saturday was a slow day. It’s a shame that it took that long to get around to it. This is sci-fi at its best. Excellent storytelling. Nothing blows up. No one gets shot at. Not really much in the way of special effects. Nothing to get in the way of telling a great story. Definitely touches of 1984 and Brave New World. The acting is very low key and it helped that, other than Robbins, I didn’t know anyone in the whole movie. The locations were also amazing. It moved seamlessly from Dubai to Hong Kong and India to lay out a not too futuristic world where people live in vast, populated hi-tech cities or out in the no-mans land.

It was a BBC production, so I don’t know if it was made for theatrical release or was a television movie. Regardless, it’s a great cautionary tale. I highly recommend it for those who enjoy intelligent sci-fi like Moon, or District 9.


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