Film Review : Code Unknown (2000)

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IMDB Score : 7.0
RT Score : 71%

I love Michael Haneke. He truly is one of the most unique filmmakers today. The man made one of my all time favorite films in Cache and was prominent in the Academy Awards last year for his film Amour, which he won for best foreign language film and was nominated for Best Picture and Best Director. Haneke’s visual style is a minimalist one. He tends to leave the camera in a prone position and let whats happening around the camera dictate what the viewer sees. When the camera moves, it moves in long unbroken takes that can last several minutes and only follow the character in front of the screen. No close ups. No quick cuts. Life doesn’t look like that. In that same ideal Haneke gets his actors to routinely give amazing performances without actually seeming that they’re acting. It’s almost as if they are carrying out their day to day lives as the long shots Haneke gives us feel like voyeurism on an average persons walk home. Juliette Binoche is turning into one of my favorite actresses. She was fantastic in Cache and she’s fantastic in this. The film is about four intersecting lives and the repercussions of a small but rippling event portrayed in the beginning of the film. This isn’t like every other “everything is connected” films. Two of the main characters are in love but the other two barely interact with one another. It’s a great example of how little things can make big differences. I wasn’t that into the story for most of the film. Haneke crosses countries and time frames frequently and can be a bit disorienting but it never gets too fragmented to take the viewer out of watching the film. The last 20 minutes are absolutely fantastic, especially the scene with Binoche on the train which was part of the trailer above. Haneke also has mastered the technique of giving us a view of something and then revealing it to be something completely different. Such was the case in this film where we have a scene playing out that turns out to be part of a movie being filmed. It’s a creative way of filmmaking that I’ve really only seen Haneke do correctly. I highly suggest the film and anything else by Haneke for that matter.


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