August 17, 2004

Breaking The Code

code-46.jpgThe really good thing about airing our cinematic fetishes in such a public forum five days a week, is that Cinecultist's movie-going companions really know what buttons to push. After seeing the trailer for Michael Winterbottom's new movie Code 46 starring Tim Robbins and our girl Samantha Morton, CC's friend Ilana turned to us and said, "so we're totally going to see that, right?" And we did, on Sunday at the Angelika.

Let's get the obvious Blade Runner parallels out of the way first -- futuristic government agency controlling the social agenda of the people (check), Asian metropolis with international flavor bleeding into all transactions (check), issues of class and identity explored (check) and an illicit sexual attraction not deemed appropriate by the infrastructure (check and double check). In fact, now that we're thinking about it, Tim Robbins really is channeling a younger Harrison Ford in this movie. He's all about the compassionate masculinity, struggling with his charisma and power, his place within the family unit and his desires outside of it. Like Ford, Robbins is all MAN in this movie, a bundle of post-apocalyptic sexual energy that can't be denied. It buzzes around him on screen. It makes you realize Susan Sarandon's a lucky, lucky woman.

Not that Morton's a slouch in the charisma and appeal department by any stretch of the imagination. She has the most fascinating face and like her roles in Minority Report or In America, her close cropped hairdo only further accentuates the expressive range that can play across her features at any given moment. We've said it before, but we could literally watch this woman read the phonebook for two hours, no problem. She has an amazing innocence about her and yet she's still a woman, with a distinctly womanly body that we found fascinating to watch move on screen. Like we saw in Morvern Callar, Morton looks best under a strobe light in a crowded dance club where she can be lost in her revery, observed and yet sort of possessed. Winterbottom's camera turns her into a fetus grooving in the electronic amniotic fluid, but a sexy fetus if you can believe it.

With performances like these two and the stunning futuristic yet very "real" production design, it was easy for Cinecultist to get caught up in the flow of this film. By which we mean to say, please check your overly fastidious plot concerns at the door because CC suspects much of this movie doesn't really make sense. So much so that you may have noticed we really avoided any sort of plot summary in this review. That was a conscious choice, because we're pretty sure we don't have such a firm handle on that pesky plot. But no matter. Code 46 is confusing and gorgeous and moving and weird and thought-provoking. Not half-bad for a late August afternoon at the cinema.

Posted by karen at August 17, 2004 8:06 AM