starring Tim Robbins and Samantha Morton
written by Frank Cottrell Boyce
directed by Michael Winterbottom
Boring and unfocused. This is some kind of futuristic movie, but it is never made clear how the world is organized and who the people are. As is often the case with futuristic films, the future is supposed to be malevolent (compared to the Utopia we have today), and the malevolence rests on a supposition of interference by a global organization with our reproductive freedom - a basic human right - which is called a “violation of Code 46.” The idea seems to be that in the future there are so many “test tube” babies in the world that people’s genetic relation is not always apparent even to themselves. Code 46 was written to prevent and punish people from too-close breeding - like not breeding with your sister, or your mother, or a closely-related cousin. It seems to be a world dominated by corporations, much like the original Rollerball(James Caan and John Houseman), and the global language is a synthesis of Chinese, Spanish, English, and others. The action all takes place in nighttime cityscapes (Shanghai) intended to generate a feeling of dehumanized alienation, and it is wet all the time - likeBladerunner, orThe X Files. Maybe Western filmmakers think of populous, densely-inhabited cities in authoritarian Asian corporate cultures as inherently malevolent and a model of the rest of the world’s future. We are all headed towards life in rabbit-hutch apartments like the Japanese danchi, under a government that dictates a one-child policy, like China’s, where human mobility is tightly controlled, like in communist Russia, and where the environmental destruction of excess population and industrialization contributes to widespread desertification, as is happening right now in many places.
I was left with a feeling not so much of a sad, tasteless existence with little meaning to it as of a sad, tasteless movie with little meaning. You can give this one a miss.