Cinema - Code 46

Michael Winterbottom’s Code 46 is a distopian romance, a peep into ‘the near future’ where many of our present global worries have materialised. Vitro-fertilisation and cloning have virtually replaced natural reproduction. Everybody speaks a form of English, with sprinklings of Spanish, French and Chinese. There are too many people, and resources are scarce. The world has divided into two. Some people live within a totalitarian system where the government lays down strict laws about what you can do, where you can go, and who you can love. Some people live ‘afuera,’ or outside, where the system has broken down, and anarchy reigns. Tim Robbins plays an insurance man who has been given a telepathy virus to help him catch fraudsters. He travels to Shanghai to investigate a woman (Samantha Morton), who he discovers has been forging ‘papelles’ (documents which tag your DNA and allow you outside the system). But he falls in love with her, with disastrous (and thought-provoking) consequences.

Critics were deeply divided about Code 46, which is being shown as part of National Refugee Week, when it came out in 2003. If you like your sci-fi full of special effects and spaceship chases, this is not for you: Winterbottom films the whole thing in modern-day Shanghai and Dubai, and much of the action is psychological. It’s been described ‘Alphaville meets Blade Runner’, though it lacks the nourish chill-factor of the first and the humanity of the second. Not a classic, then, but worth a watch. DL

Shanghai surprise: Tim Robbins discovers he has a soul in Code 46

All Saints Centre
When? 7.30pm
How Much? £4.50
Lewes Cinema
(w) Website