[Review] Source Code

Source Code (2011)

Dir: Duncan Jones
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga

Before I bought my ticket, sat down and watched Source Code, the only things I knew about the film was that it was directed by Duncan Jones, featured Jake Gyllenhaal and centred around an explosion on a train.

In my ‘Preview: films to look out for in 2011‘ post, there is no mention of Source Code whatsoever; I really didn’t have a clue about the film and so wasn’t counting down the days until its release.

However, I’m very, very glad that I did go and see it.

Source Code is a very involved and intense film. Colter Stevens (Gyllenhaal) is a soldier who wakes up on a train in another man’s body. As revealed by windows and mirrors, he hasn’t physically turned into this man, though. Eight minutes later, the train blows up. Stevens wakes up again, this time in what he calls a ‘capsule’.

With the tagline ‘make every second count’, the film can be called a ‘race against time’ action thriller. At the crux of the plot is the pivotal eight minutes: every time Stevens enters the Source Code he only has eight minutes to fulfil his mission and find out who planted the bomb that blew up the train.

You see, Stevens has been recruited by the Source Code Project – an arm of the military – to find the bomber and stop them from launching a second, larger bomb that will cause the deaths of potentially thousands in downtown Chicago.

So, what is ‘Source Code’ exactly? Well, as Wikipedia explains, it is: “a program that allows him to take over someone’s body in his or her last eight minutes of life”.

Director Duncan Jones and writer Ben Ripley have taken a complicated idea and made it accessible. Throughout the film I was confident that I was following the plot. After Stevens is told he was a physical match for the program I guessed why that was and I kinda knew how it would eventually end. That said, it was a gripping story.

For one, the casting is spot on. Gyllenhaal is likeable and sincere as this unlikely ‘alternate’ time traveller.

Thumbs up to Duncan Jones, that’s two out of two feature films of yours I’ve seen and two out of two that I’ve enjoyed.

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