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.
Although I'm a Lars Von Trier's big fan, this was the TRUE Golden Palm in the 2000 Cannes Film Festival. Haneke shows us a perfect reflection of what the beggining of the millennium was. The promise of a better and modern world and the truth about it: a globalized system with the same and even worse types of discrimination; lack of communication in a dehumanized world.
Another Haneke's masterpiece of social psychology and an ode to inadequacy to understand. An iconic descript: father dressed in blue feeding animals and son dressed in red cleaning after animals. What a finale: deaf and mute kids commanding the rhythm to Paris everyday street life, to EU, ...
A series of loosely connected vignettes, most all of which are single takes, focusing one a few different characters and their lives, sometimes intersecting. This is not an easy film to watch, partly because of its depth, mostly because of its unrelenting bleakness. It almost feels worth it, but in the end anything I feel I may have gotten out of it is overshadowed by its weight.
One of the amazing things about Haneke is often how concise his message is without him ever being didactic - even though he is surely one of our greatest political filmmakers. If the code existed to remove the barriers between us would it be necessary to destroy it? After all the things which keep us adrift are also those that define us; class, culture, identity. Unfortunate those with the code decide such fates.