Code Unknown

2000 [FRENCH]

Action / Drama

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh75%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright79%
IMDb Rating7.11013881

paris, franceimmigranthomeless

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN

Top cast

Juliette Binoche Photo
Juliette Binoche as Anne Laurent
Michael Haneke Photo
Michael Haneke as Unseen Director of Anne's Film
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.05 GB
French 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 57 min
P/S 0 / 1
2.16 GB
French 5.1
23.976 fps
1 hr 57 min
P/S 0 / 7

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by zetes10 / 10

Absolutely brilliant! One of the best of the last couple of years!

A brilliant an original film. It unites current fads in art cinema, the frequent long take and multiple, interlocking storylines, both of which are in danger of becoming cliché. The way that these interlocking stories begin and end is very interesting. It gives us so little, and leaves us to figure out so much for ourselves. It's like a cinematic test of the psychological principle of closure. We ourselves have to connect the scenes and build the stories. In a way, it's kind of a game, and a fun one, at that. But it does cover some serious and important topics, namely the interaction of the various, and constantly increasing variety, of peoples in Europe. Most of the action takes place in France, although it does journey to Eastern Europe often and even Africa at one point. And, thankfully, Haneke isn't happy about simply making blanket political statements about the situation. For example, in the film's second scene, a white boy throws a piece of paper into a homeless woman's lap. A young black man, an immigrant from Africa, sees him and tries to force him to apologize to the woman. They get into a fight when the white boy refuses, the police see it and haul the black man, the white boy, and the homeless woman away. The black man is charged, the homeless woman, a refugee from Romania, is deported, and the white boy is let go. The criticism seems clear and obvious, until we find out that the piece of paper, which the audience is originally to think is garbage, is money. We learn this from the woman, who tells someone else about it and how she had once done nearly the same thing to someone below her in class. None of the stories are resolved. We are left to finish them for ourselves. This is one of the best films of recent years. Really, there have been a ton of highly-praised directors who rely entirely on bags of gimmicks. It's so nice to see a modern film that actually achieves something resembling a re-imagining of how narrative works in the cinema.

Reviewed by Polaris_DiB5 / 10

Struggles between the code and the meaning

Michael Haneke is very clearly a talented and intelligent filmmaker--and if the first two movies I've seen by him are any indication, I don't think I like his movies very much. That, of course, does not mean that they are bad by any definition, but it does show that his movies are not necessarily for everyone. I for one believe that a filmmaker capable of making an audience uncomfortable while keeping their attention is a gifted filmmaker indeed, and Haneke does that well with me. So, without further ado: Code: Unknown is an ensemble film of characters lives that intermingle and run across each other in Paris. Unlike such films as 21 Grams, Crash, et al, however, Code: Unknown is more of a statement on character's lack of identity than their interdigitated roles surrounding a social setting. Here, one can hardly call what is on screen as "social", even while relationships unravel, parties are held, and films-within-the-film are made. If you want to see the most utterly alone characters in all of cinema, look here.

The other movie by Haneke I've seen is The Seventh Continent, and these two movies are made in basically the exact same structure: immense long takes with black leader in between to separate them. The only exception to that rule is when Juliette Binoche's character is acting in a movie, at which point cuts occur, signifying that movies are ultimately fake.

Therein is probably one of the most difficult things about Haneke as a filmmaker: he strong-arms rather than invites. Long takes are typically used to make the audience to sit and look at the image on the screen for longer than they are normally accustomed to, but with Haneke I feel like he's taking that concept to the extreme (probably purposefully, which is why I don't criticize him for it) and basically forcing you into a specific perspective, which he will not change. If Bazin is right and there's a world outside of the frame, Haneke locks you away from it. And the only window he lets you have is to the world's darkest, most impersonal facets.

There's quite a long tradition of this in cinema, however. John Cassavetes is probably the most famous filmmaker operating in this mode, as he was known to purposefully cut out all the parts of his films that other people found enjoyable. Haneke certainly has something to say and certainly knows exactly how to say it. Just be forewarned that this movie is not meant to be enjoyable.

Otherwise, I really like his exploration of miscommunication and the ways in which the characters set themselves up to never be able to express themselves truly. If the movie weren't so insistent in tone, perhaps the emotional drive behind it would have more reverberation in my own viewing of the movie, but instead the disciplinary shooting causes me to be intellectually resistant to his particular world-view.


Reviewed by MartinHafer4 / 10

2000 must have been a slow year for the cinema....

...because on the DVD case, one critic stated that this film was "one of the top 5 films of the year". Considering how dull and uninvolving the film was, then it was a poor year indeed. Now this isn't to say it's a horrible film--just one that is difficult to connect with or care about in any deep way. The film appears to be about interpersonal communication and it seems to take the approach that people are disconnected by actually making the film itself disconnected and disjoint. Yeah, whatever. All I know is that I couldn't wait for the film to end and it's one of the duller French films I've ever seen.

As for the story itself, it's a bunch of segments involving people who occasionally intersect with those in other segments (such as the one involving the awfully selfish teen and the well-meaning Malian man). The problem is that there were no segues--just cuts to the next unconnected vignette. Additionally, the lack of emotion in most of these segments made the whole experience tedious. I really wish the films' makers had taken some of the better sequences and just hashed them out more instead of making a film that overall just doesn't satisfy.

FYI--As an American who is rather fluent in sign language, I was surprised how very difficult it was to understand what the deaf kids signed in the film. This was especially surprising since American Sign Language is directly descended from the French. Non-signers might feel put off that SOME of the signing in the film was not captioned and most would have no idea what the kids were saying at the end of the film. However, it was really amazing and catchy to hear their drum corps--it had an infectious energy.

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