Early on, as in much of Haneke’s work, one quickly gets the concept (for that is all it really is, with the actual realisation as a film something of a dreary commitment) and are then subject to a near-autistic extrapolation of it for two hours. That’s not to say this isn’t sporadically intellectually engaging - it is - but you never loose the sense of someone griping your wrist to make a point you already got.
★★★½ /35mm/ Haneke’s great film, a thoughtful meditation on a nation’s identity in a state of flux, is told through a group of multiracial characters. Haneke builds the film's power through a sequence of ambiguous images and sound, a white woman spit upon, a black young man wrongfully accused, a Romanian immigrant looking for a place to beg, a dying farm, a Milian taxi driver returning home with his new car.
3.7 stars. I constitutionally struggle with Haneke, but at least this feels like a series of pointed questions, rather than an interrogation or just a cold slap in the face. It is productively uncomfortable, rather than a nihilistic black hole. Also, since (up till 'The Piano Teacher'?) Haneke is interested in thought experiments, not characters, I appreciate the quick intersecting stories that keep you on your toes!
Karşılaşmalar..Aramızdaki duvarların sonucunda sürüklendiğimiz iletişimsizlik. Sahnelerin daha son cümle tamamlanmadan kararması 'kopukluğumuza' ve insanlara ulaşamıyor olmamıza işaret ediyor gibi. Herkes duyulmak istiyor ama kimsenin birbirini duyduğu yok. Sekanslarda kamera bireyselliğe ve izolasyona vurgu yapıyor. İzlerken kafamda yankılanan cümle "Aynı duyguları paylaşmadığınız insanlarla olmak ne kadar güç."
At the time I watched it I didn't know about Haneke. I can see now that it's deep and meaningful, but back then it just seemed like a regular movie with Binoche. Anything with her I will watch. Except those damn Carax movies! Anyway I thought it was a 3 at the time, and I'm not changing my mind just because I understand it better. That's my form of Ill Communication. Besides, it's just a little too loose.
Hanekes greatest strength is his organic camera movement, placement, and tempo. After a masterful opening long take, the narrative diverges into partitioned sequences luring us into the lives of multiple affected individuals. An uncompromising and candid observation of the world today, capturing strife in and around class, race, immigration. Socially aware (not overbearingly so) and artistically brilliant.
Gifted though he is, Haneke is hit and miss with loftier themes; detractors justly identify his unpleasant proclivities for didactic patronizing. Such pitfalls are avoided here with sympathetic characters, who clash over believable, frustrating misunderstandings. In this lonely world, it's a struggle to see strangers as more than complications, means, or hindrances; "Code Unknown" simply asks that we continue to try.
Though it predates them, this plays like a rebuttal to the Inarritu-lead 'Everything is Connected' sub-genre. Haneke doesn't contrive these disparate people together. They meet, then spiral randomly away from one another to live their individual lives, literally seperated by swathes of black silence from those they cannot comprehend.
Haneke does it again. At once both a humanist and a sadist and a keen observer of the human condition in this movie his critical and cruel gaze does not hit home as much as it usually does for me. Both method and intent is admirable but the fragmented struture grows tiresome after a while. Still there after bits and pieces here that will resonate long after the movie is done.
I'm completely heartful to watch this film: it's activism and art, with a lot of soul in it. Code Unknown is one of those things that just stick with you, that immediately grab you: eye to eye. It's a mirror and the reflection is bold - it's us. Passages, flows, dead ends: a kind of work that even when pretending to make cinema, makes cinema. Excellent <3
Though I remain extremely passionate about his first two theatrical features, it seems clear to me now that Code Unknown was where Haneke peaked as a film artist. It is a perfect marriage of form and content in the service of a vision of the world and of art. There are many movies of the postmodern era that focus on fragmentation and convergence. I'm fairly certain Cody Unknown is the greatest by a solid measure.