It's the near future. Cloning is widespread. You can't have unprotected sex without a license or you could end up impregnating your mother. It's the job of William Geld, played with focused intensity and a provocative hint of sneaky humor by Tim Robbins, to track down code breakers of all kinds. The married William is now in Shanghai to find out who's been issuing fake passports — a no-no in an overcrowded world. His path leads him to Maria (Samantha Morton). He knows she's guilty, but he won't turn her in. He's mysteriously drawn to her. He takes her to bed. You don't need a crystal ball to see where the Frank Cottrell Boyce script is going. Luckily, gifted director Michael Winterbottom (24 Hour Party People) knows how to spark a plot with visual virtuosity. What doesn't spark is the love story. Morton still seems soggy from her Minority Report role as a drenched pre-cog. Who wants romance in a future where glum is the word?
From The Archives Issue 348: July 23, 1981