A tale of identity theft and loss, it can sometimes feel a little too bleak and washed out, but this only serves to make it seem all the more real. There is a haunting quality to the visuals, the script, the acting and the pacing of the piece that is hypnotic, drawing you into the melancholic world that it portrays.
Tim Robbins plays William, a detective on the trail of a woman suspected of identity fraud, played by the sublime Samantha Morton. When William falls in love with the suspect, he must face the dilemma of carrying out his duty or being with her.
The character interplay is complex, with real flashes of brilliance in the way people react to the strange situations they find themselves in. The film takes place mostly in a futuristic Shanghai, mixing slums with grandeur, and the dialogue used throughout utilizes elements of many languages.
It is a far cry from the general consensus of science fiction films being about robots, spaceships and endless action, which is probably why it was far from being a hit. That's not to say that it is sub-par. It isn't. It is one of the very best science fiction films of the past decade, beautifully directed by Michael Winterbottom and played with a great deal of realism by a remarkable cast. Code 46 is a wonderfully haunting experience for any lover of dystopian science fiction with an emphasis on character and plot. A genuinely beautiful film.