31 March 2011

Source Code


When gearing up to see Source Code, I was very apprehensive. The last Jake Gyllenhaal film was a disaster. I don’t care what anybody says. The last time I saw Vera Farmiga was in Up in the Air, and I enjoyed the film. And the last time I saw Jeffery Wright, well, he was helping my favorite franchise character, James Bond. The preview looked interesting, but I was afraid it would be just like Vantage Point. The director Duncan Jones is coming off of his critically acclaimed first feature film, Moon. I am sad to say that I have not seen it. Unfortunately, the writer Ben Ripley is coming off of two unnecessary and unwanted direct-to-video sequels of Species and a television movie.

Source Code opens with Capt. Colter Stephens/Shawn (Gyllenhaal) waking up disoriented on a commuter train. Across from him sits Christina (Michelle Monaghan). Colter then tries to figure out why Christina keeps calling him Shawn, how he got on the train, and why his reflection in the restroom mirror is not him. Then the train explodes.

Capt. Colter then wakes up in a harness in a small capsule. A screen comes to life and there is Goodwin (Farmiga). She tries to calm him down and get him to focus on his mission by asking him what he saw and remembers from the train. Then, Dr. Rutledge (Wright) has Colter sent back into the Source Code. Colter then embraces his mission; he was a war hero in Afghanistan after all. Each time inside the Source Code, he gets closer to completing his mission: find the bomber. Another attack is eminent and Colter is the key to preventing it.

Every time Colter is sent back, we are right back where the movie started, on a commuter train across the seat from Christina. At this point, I started to worry that this movie was going to go down the same path of Vantage Point. Happily, it did not. Meanwhile, each time back in the capsule, he gets closer to solving how he got there and what the Source Code is. Dr. Rutledge explains that the Source Code allows Colter to relive the last eight minutes of a specific person’s life. The only hook is, you can’t change the past because it has already happened.

Now, I do not want to give away what goes down in the rest of the film. Let’s just put it this way, Source Code is the best movie I have seen this year. I know that isn’t saying a whole lot considering some of the movies I’ve seen lately, but I cannot stress enough that this movie is worth the 93 minutes and $10 ticket price. Source Code succeeds where so many movies have failed. It is entertaining and thought provoking on many levels. It could be this year’s Inception.

After watching Source Code, I cannot wait until Ben Ripley’s next foray into mainstream screenwriting and Duncan Jones’ next directorial film. 4.5/5

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