****/**** Image B+ Sound A- Extras B-
starring Tim Robbins, Samantha Morton, Om Puri, Emil Marwa
screenplay by Frank Cottrell Boyce
directed by Michael Winterbottom
by Walter Chaw Visually, Michael Winterbottom's Code 46 locates its textures somewhere between the supple romanticism of Wong Kar-wai and the grimy lyricism of Lynne Ramsay. (Indeed, one of the film's two cinematographers, Alwin H. Kuchler, is also Ramsay's DP.) It's a science-fiction film in J.G. Ballard's barest definition of the genre--an exploration of time, space, and identity set in the near future in a cloud of languages and ideas--that periodically soars like invention can when it's raised from a foundation of familiar catastrophe and intimate calamity. Flanked in theatres by Michel Gondry's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Joseph Ruben's The Forgotten, Code 46 represents one of three 2004 releases to deal with memory-tampering. Curious zeitgeist we find ourselves in, this mad desire to erase the past (and note a recent run of disaster flicks as well) and start anew.