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Code 46 (2003) – DVD Review

Code 46 DVD cover art


Written by Frank Cotrell Boyce
Directed by Michael Winterbottom
Starring Tim Robbins, Samantha Morton, Togo Igawa, Nabil Elouhabi, and Sarah Blackhouse


  • Deleted scenes
  • “Obtaining Cover: Inside Code 46” featurette

Released by: MGM Home Entertainment
Rating: R
Region: 1
Anamorphic: Yes.

My Advice: Rent it first.

Code 46 stipulates that if two people share even 25% of the same genetic code, they are forbidden to have sex. And, if they have sex armed with the knowledge of the Code 46 violation, it is a crime. So, when William Geld (Robbins) crosses paths with Maria Gonzales (Morton) on an investigation of a fraud, he had no idea what would happen to him. The first time they have sex, it is innocent. However, after he discovers that they share the same genetic code, he becomes infatuated with her and hunts her down again.

This is actually not that far fetched of an idea since, after all, we’re talking about the government controlling the sexual behavior of consenting adults. The movie has the feel of Blade Runner, but I think that’s mostly thanks to the soundtrack. “The Free Association” is credited with the soundtrack, but it sounds a whole lot like Vangelis. The world is painted to be a very sterile place and human contact, even though not restricted at first, has been distilled. Even two people who are married have an incredible emotional and psychological distance between them. Robbins and Morton take this idea and run with it so far that I would recommend not watching the movie alone. It is all about human relationships in the future, but I felt alone as hell after watching this. If that was the director’s goal (and I couldn’t be sure from watching the movie, honestly), then they should feel very proud of their work.

The DVD’s bonus stuff starts off with your classic “making of” featurette. Given the nature of this movie–and this is a change from the normal way you watch DVDs–I suggest you watch this featurette first. It helps to explain a lot that the movie leaves very open. Otherwise, it’s your standard interview with cast and crew. It’s not fluff, but it doesn’t go into too much more detail than your typical fluff featurette.

Next up, there are four deleted scenes that, as usual, don’t really add anything to the enjoyment of the movie. See, that’s why they were cut in the first place. When choosing material to add to the DVD, it’s important to understand that you aren’t just sticking deleted scenes on there because you have them in order to fill up the bonus list on the back of the box. Deleted scenes are only good if there was a part of the story that the director really wanted to tell that just didn’t make it into the final cut of the movie. In most cases, though, if it didn’t make it into the final cut, it really didn’t help the story anyway. So, it’s a Catch 22. It would be nice if more production companies would start editing the deleted scenes (the worthwhile ones, anyway) back into the movie and give you the option to play it either with or without these scenes. Watching them in context is much better than having to guess where they should have gone.

To sum up: you have a very vague movie that’s effective in what it seemingly tries to do, but takes a lot of work to get into and not much material to support it on the DVD. I would have loved to have watched this movie with a director’s commentary. It’s very beautifully shot and I would love to hear their thoughts. Alas. So, if you are a fan of Blade Runner-type futuristic movies, you’ll probably dig this one. Just make sure you rent it before you buy it.

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1 comment

  • The Free Association is responsible for the soundtrack, and you can find the soundtrack at the iTunes store.