Movie Review: ‘Source Code’

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When I heard that Duncan Jones had a new project in the works, I was pretty pumped to learn more. After all, Moon is probably one of my favourite science fiction movies of this decade. Source Code is not at all what it appears to be, much like Moon in that regard; and I’ll admit, I was also pretty excited to watch Jake Gyllenhaal in a Groundhog Day-esque time loop. Seeing the trailer I did not quite know what to expect, but I was absolutely intrigued either way.

This movie is a thrilling ride that is continuiously generating questions, and personally I thought the plot itself was very unique. Gyllenhaal plays Captain Colter Stevens, a helicopter pilot. His last memories are flying a chopper in Afghanistan, then he seemingly inexplicably awakens on a commuter train heading into Chicago’s Union Station. Thing is, he’s been “placed” into the body of schoolteacher Sean Fentress– the train is going to explode in a very quick eight minutes killing everyone on board, and Stevens has to figure out who planted the bomb and make those minutes count in order to prevent future attacks on the city. Each time the train explodes, he is then sent back into the train, starting those same eight minutes over again and again.

In the universe this film creates, it is possible for someone to be “transplanted” into the final eight minutes of another person’s life. Apparently, the brain sort of “remembers” these final eight minutes for whatever reason, and Gyllenhaal is plugged into Fentress’ final eight. Bits and pieces of how this is plausible are revealed slowly by other characters, like Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) and Dr. Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright), and the manner in which these crucial pieces are revealed is paced really well. Overall I thought the film was tight– it has a runtime of 93 minutes, so just over an hour and a half. For an action flick, that’s pretty short, but I feel it was actually perfect. The movie didn’t drag at all and the action started almost immediately, and I was in for the ride.

The female supporting lead and Fenress’ love interest, Christina (Michelle Monaghan), is a good addition as well. I am always skeptical of love plotlines in movies, especially action or science fiction movies; they are usually pretty useless in my opinion, and don’t do much of anything to move the plot forward. However, Christina actually plays a pivotal role which helps to advance the story. Her and Stevens share many little sentimental moments, and each time that Stevens is “sent back” into the train things are a little different with her.

The way the film is stylised also caught my eye; Jones has a fantastic attention to detail, and a real flair for aesthetics. With Chris Bacon’s brilliant score setting the mood, the opening scenes resembled those of a Hitchcock flick. The credits were simplistic with the exciting music pulsing in the background, while panning over the city of Chicago and the suburbs. Things looked mysterious, and I got the “nothing is quite as it seems” vibe. 

I would definitely recommend this movie. I haven’t stoppped thinking about it since I saw it yesterday morning– always the hallmark of a great film. Source Code really created an engrossing world which I totally believed to be true, with all kinds of jarring twists and turns along the way. Thanks for reading, and I hope you all go to your local theatre and see it!

Written by: vm

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