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Time Out says
Winterbottom’s futuristic, sci-fi love story takes us to China, the Middle East and India. It’s some point in the near future and all those nasty things that Orwell warned us about are realised in a world created by screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce. Checkpoints divide those with ‘papelles’ (a form of identity card) from those without, who are banned from entering cities. The government also enforces Code 46: a law that regulates genetic compatibility and, therefore, sex. It’s not fully explained, but Winterbottom hints that national borders have given way to a more international authority. Wisely, too, he suggests that the East is where it’s at. When William (Robbins) is sent to Shanghai to investigate a case of papelles fraud, he finds Maria (Morton) and embarks on a brief, doomed love affair. This relationship, though, is less interesting than the new world Winterbottom carves out of our existing one. For once, this is a future we can recognise.