…even after a number of viewings, I’m still not sure if what I have seen is a kind of high Euro-modernist masterpiece about race, culture, urban rage and alienated identity – or a perversely opaque and frustrating essay in enigma, a labyrinth of blind alleys, in which putative solutions are forbiddingly walled off. It is a film which gestures at the literal incomprehensibility of experience, how it resists encirclement and extends beyond the perimeters of perception and interpretation. The mood of Code Unknown is moreover often fractious, crackling with unease and ill-humour, and yet this is a movie whose images and personae linger in the mind, and which can deliver dazzlingly generous, compassionate insights…
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
…Whilst the film is a worthy effort, making some valid statements of how we now live, its message is perhaps weakened by its fragmented structure, some rambling sequences and an over-abundance of characters… Also, the lack of anything approaching a tidy resolution of the film’s multiple strands is unsatisfying and suggests a dearth of inspiration on the part of the film-maker. What the film certainly appears to lack is a punch-line, a clear concluding statement to either reinforce or challenge the audience’s understanding of the film. Instead, it all ends in enigmatic silence, leaving the spectator to ponder: so what?
James Travers, French Film Guide.com
…Michael Haneke creates an intelligently constructed, compelling, provocative, and relevant observation on social inequity, the untenability of cultural assimilation, and the failure of communication in Code Inconnu. Presented as a series of dissociated (and intrinsically ethnographic) episodes on the lives of the principal characters following the fateful (though seemingly trivial) transection, Haneke examines the ingrained social divisiveness, moral complacency, and created bounds of human interaction. Chronologically indeterminate events, interrupted dialogues (often truncated in mid sentence), prolonged transitional fadeouts, and recurrent episodes of missed (and mis) communication… pervade the film’s fragmented narrative structure, exposing the flawed perception of cultural integration and social equality in the constantly evolving racial and socio-economic demography of a traditionally monoethnic society.
Acquarello, Strictly Film School
Language(s):Malinka, Romanian, French, German, English, Arabic, French Sign Language