Code 46

Year: 2003
Production Co: BBC Films
Director: Michael Winterbottom
Writer: Frank Cotrell Bryce
Cast: Tim Robbins, Samantha Morton
Another film I wanted to like much more than I did. There's a movement in film to dress a movie up as science fiction but use performance and premise to convey the idea in a sci-fi background.

In that sense Code 46 is a little like other one-note 'prophetic warning' films like Fahrenheit 451 and Harrison Bergeron, a strong idea but not usually enough to warrant a ninety minute film. That Winterbottom ties the narrative up with a love story and a part thriller helps, but only so much.

That said, the sci-fi elements are brilliantly designed and shot in this world where cities are regulated megalopolises and everything outside is a wasteland for those considered less than human.

Morton is an office worker in a Shanghai factory haunted by a recurring dream that seems to fortell her death, and who has a scam going where she sells 'cover', which is never made fully clear but seems to be a government-issued license to travel and reproduce.

When the investigator looking into the case (Robbins) realises she's guilty he lets her go as he's fallen in love with her, and after she's whisked away to a clinic where their baby is aborted and all memory of him erased, he has to try and track her down and convince her he's the man for her, all the while with his job and family back home pulling him in the other direction.

Understated and taut, but could have done with a little more exposition.

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