Source Code

Source Code

7.6 /10

Source Code is the sophomore feature of director Duncan Jones. It borrows the sci-fi aspect of his first film, Moon, and throws in a puzzle plot in this techno-thriller. The film was well-crafted, with only a slight plot-hole near the end, about a man who is in the same 8 minute time-loop trying to figure out who planted a bomb on a train. If The Matrix and Groundhog Day had a baby, Source Code would be it.

The film jumps right in with Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) waking up on a train, clearly confused by his surroundings. The woman (Michelle Monaghan) sitting across from him is in mid conversation with him. Adding to the confusion she insists that she knows him and repeatedly calls him Sean. In a desperate move to figure out what is going on, he goes to the bathroom only to find a face in the mirror that is not his, but rather Sean’s.

The opening 8 minutes of the film is one of the most intriguing first 8 minutes of recent film memory. The viewer is in the same boat, or in this case train, as the main character. We have no clue who Sean is, why he is all of a sudden on a train or who the women sitting across from him is. Well played.

Source Code movie review

As soon as Colter’s time on the train hits 8 minutes, the bomb goes off and the train explodes into flames. He awakes strapped inside some kind of metal capsule in a secret U.S. military experiment. In front of him are computer screens with a women named Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) instruction him what to do.

Goodwin expresses how time is not on their side for this experiment but she does finally explain what exactly is going on. The commuter train explosion was caused by a bomb placed by someone on the train. Goodwin’s team was able to gain access into the brain of one of the passengers and able to re-create the last 8 minutes of his life before the bomb went off. From that they were able to build a simulation world that consists of those 8 minutes, they call it Source Code. It has The Matrix similarities abound, the most obvious is the alternate-simulation-world but also Goodwin basically being “the operator”.

His mission is to go back for the 8 minutes to try to locate the bomb and figure out who planted it. With this information they can capture the bomber to prevent an even larger attack that could destroy Chicago. Colter can go back multiple times but still only has the same time limit of 8 minutes. So needs to learn from each visit, Groundhog Day style, piecing the puzzle together.

A human element of emotions comes into play as Colter begins to form a relationship with some of the other passengers, most notably Christina, who we meet at the beginning of each new initialization of Source Code. Which means his mission just got expanded.

Just like in his first film, Moon, Duncan Jones relies heavily on one central character to do most of the heavy lifting. But to be fair, Gyllenhaal had a little more help than Sam Rockwell did. Gyllenhaal was a fantastic choice, he was solid in his role. Monaghan was maybe a little more replaceable, but that was more because of her role than her performance. Farmiga made a role that would normally be overlooked and played it very well.

The first two acts of Source Code far surpassed the relatively weak third act. The ending was safe and too Hollywood friendly, which is a bit of a shame because I do not think it needed to be. For the most part, the film remains a fast paced thriller with at least one bone-chilling turn-of-event scene. It is not as mind blowing as Inception, but that does not mean it is not worth a watch or two.

Source Code Movie review

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