Code 46 (2003)

How do you solve a crime when the last thing you want to know is the truth?

Original Title : Code 46
Director : Michael Winterbottom
Writer : Frank Cottrell Boyce
Genre : Romance
Country : UK
Language : English
Producer : Andrew Eaton , Robert Jones , Rosa Romero , David M. Thompson
Music : David Holmes
Chris Martin
Photography : Alwin H. Kuchler
Marcel Zyskind
MPAA Rating : Rated R for a scene of sexuality, including brief graphic nudity.
IMDB ID : 0345061
Official site :
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poster for "Code 46" by Michael Winterbottom (2003)
Code 46 (2003) - Michael Winterbottom


¬Tim Robbins William
¬Togo Igawa Driver
¬Nabil Elouhabi Vendor (as Nabil Elouahabi
¬Samantha Morton Maria Gonzales
¬Sarah Backhouse Weather Girl
¬Jonathan Ibbotson Boxer
¬Natalie Jackson Mendoza Sphinx Receptionist (as Natalie Mendoza
¬Om Puri Bahkland
¬Emil Marwa Mohan
¬Nina Fog Wole
¬Bruno Lastra Bikku
¬Christopher Simpson Paul
¬Lien Nguyin Singer in Nightclub
¬David Fahm Damian Alekan
¬Jeanne Balibar Sylvie
¬Mick Jones Himself
¬Taro Sherabayani Jim
¬Nina Sosanya Anya
¬Shelley King William's Boss
¬Tuyet Le Apartment Security
¬Benedict Wong Medic
¬Nina Wadia Hospital Receptionist
¬Essie Davis Doctor
¬Teo-Wa Vuong Tester
¬Jennifer Lim Tester with Couple
¬Archie Panjabi Check In
¬Paul Barnes Man in Corridor
¬Louis Lin Sales Agent
¬Nabil Massad Jebel Ali Hotel Owner
¬Kerry Shale Clinic Doctor


Code 46 is a love story set in a Brave New World-type near-future where cities are heavily controlled and only accessible through checkpoints. People cannot travel unless they have "papelles," a special travel permit issued by the totalitarianistic government, the "Sphinx". Outside these cities, the desert has taken over and shanty towns are jammed with non-citizens - people without papelles forced to live primitive lives. William is a family man who works as a government investigator. When he is sent to Shanghai to solve a case of fake papelles, he meets a woman named Maria. Although he realizes she is behind the forgeries, he cannot help but fall completely in love with her. He hides her crime and they have a wild, passionate affair that can only last as long as his papelles: 24 hours. Back home, William is obessed with the memory of Maria. When the original investigation is inevitably re-opened a week later and William is sent back to finish the work he started, he tracks her down, only to discover she has been accused of a Code 46 violation and any further relationship is impossible.


I was blown away by the portrayal of a multicultural community of the future. Languages and races all melded together into one global culture. This film is so coy in displaying its intelligence. Being an average linguist, I loved the usage of Spanish, arabic, mandarin and more mixed in with English. Enough to entice, little enough to avoid viewer confusion. The backdrops of the scenes looked so natural yet foreign. I was surprised by the sensuality displayed in the latter part of the film...not being used to seeing Robbins in such scenes. the main actress carries a curious beauty and attractiveness throughout her performance. I was slightly disturbed by the code 46 violation, but not enough to say that this was not a fascinating experience.
poster for "Code 46"
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Code 46 (2003) - Michael Winterbottom
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Code 46 (2003) - Michael Winterbottom
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Code 46 (2003) - Michael Winterbottom
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Code 46 (2003) - Michael Winterbottom