Code Unknown (Code inconnu: Récit incomplet de divers voyages)
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Code Unknown (Code inconnu: Récit incomplet de divers voyages)
German-born filmmaker Michael Haneke continues the bleak, formalist experimentation of his 1994 breakthrough 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance with this similarly fragmented tale of racism, intolerance, and hatred in modern-day Paris. The focus of the narrative is split between three sets of people: the French actress Anne (Juliette Binoche), her husband and in-laws; a Romanian woman, Maria (Luminita Gheorghiu), who struggles to raise money for her family back home; and Amadou (Ona Lu Yenke), a teacher for the deaf who is at odds with his resolute African clan. The catalyst for the… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 74%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The violence, in short, remains unseen, but that makes it no easier to bear; what lurks and wails behind a wall is, for Haneke, the most reliable wellspring of dread."
‑ Anthony Lane, New Yorker
"All this unrelenting bleakness would be fine if it went someplace interesting, but the film's themes never coalesce into anything beyond basic existential angst."
‑ David Rooney, Variety
"Code Unknown is an unusual example of a movie that is socially aware, but that is thankfully equally aware of how tiresome moralising and preaching can be."
‑ Daniel Etherington, Film4
"Haneke brings his usual dark sensibility to bear on the multifaceted story, expressing the fractured quality of modern city life through scenes that wander through a labyrinth of missing links and lost connections."
‑ David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor
"The director toys with the entire idea of unlocking the code of violence, the small and individually insignificant elements that add up to tales of either joy or horror."
‑ Jason Gorber, Film Scouts
"A procession of long virtuoso takes that typically begin and end in the middle of actions or sentences, constituting not only an interactive jigsaw puzzle but a thrilling narrative experiment."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"Despite the film's Bressonian rigours, its emotional force should finally give the lie to Haneke's reputation as a coldly academic film-maker."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"This film, from Austrian director Michael Haneke, is one of the most uncompromisingly difficult and challenging of the year."
‑ Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
"With virtually no music and very little expository dialogue, this is one of the rare films with enough faith in moviegoers to let them figure things out for themselves."
‑ Ken Fox, TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Michael Haneke's only attempt to be emotionally salient."
‑ Cole Smithey,
"A searing, structurally ingenious look at racial tension on the streets of Paris."
‑ Scott Tobias, AV Club
"Code Unknown is a film that will thrill connoisseurs of alienation and loneliness, and I say that with the utmost sincerity."
‑ Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"If some of the political theorising is somewhat naive and the direction is occasionally manipulative, the acting, particularly from Juliette Binoche, is superb."
‑ David Parkinson, Radio Times
"A chilling picture of urban disillusionment, Code Unknown's strength is its insistence that, to be realistic, it cannot give easy answers."
‑ , Total Film
"[Haneke's] socio-political condemnations assume an aggressively hectoring tone."
‑ Nick Schager, Lessons of Darkness

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