Film Review: Source Code

The great thing about using time travel in a movie to change the course of history is this… The viewer will only try and analyse it for so long before their brain starts to hurt and they give up.

It mean writers can pretty much get anyway with anything, on the surface it will ‘sort of’ make sense and usually that is good enough to gloss over the ‘probable’ gaping holes in the plot.

Source Code Review

It’s sort of how I felt after Source Code, it’s an amalgamation of different movies, and if I had to summarise it as a mathematical equation it would be something like..

Inception plus Twelve Monkeys multiplied by Back to the Future divided by Groundhog Day, as it has elements of all these. The news though is it’s actually quite original… and good.

The story? …Ok, breathe in….

Jake Gyllenhaal plays Colter Stevens, a US Helicopter pilot on tour in Afghanistan. He wakes in a strange military facility to find he must complete a mission to enter the brain of a man on a train 8 minutes before an explosion kills everyone on board.

During those 8 minutes he must search the train for clues and find the terrorist responsible for planting the bomb. Luckily (or unluckily) for Stevens after the 8 minutes and the deadly explosion he finds himself back at the facility for debriefing by Goodwin (played by Vera Farmiga).

Until he can find out the information needed to save the lives of millions he must keep reliving the same 8 minutes, going back to the train to find the clues.

To tell you any more would spoil it, and probably confuse me as much as it would you, but I will say this, the rhythm and pacing of Source Code is superb, there are shades of Hitchcock and a fairly big nod to the Twilight Zone Series which is a big compliment to both the writer (Ben Ripley) and director Duncan Jones.

There must be an A-Z casting book in Hollywood somewhere with a picture of Gyllenhaal under the word ‘Anxious’. It’s an expression he does particularly well in many of his movies, and this one too…

source code reviewHe carries the film through it’s twists and turns while the plot keeps you guessing throughout, and it still managed an ending I didn’t see coming.

It’s refreshing to see a ‘Hollywood Movie’ not so in love with itself it can keep under the 2hr mark (see Transformers). Note to Michael Bay, just because it is long doesn’t make it good.

Source Code is a lean, mean 93 minutes and all the better for it. After his excellent debut Moon, Duncan Jones has done a fine job again, delivering a taught action thriller that is actually more psychological in it’s execution.

It should be interesting to see what he does next…. just don’t think too hard about it…
Source Code is out now on DVD in the UK.

PS Word of Warning.
Watching this movie with any of those annoying people who ask questions about the plot throughout (as if you’ve already seen it) could be a mistake.

They’ll drive you so mad you’ll want to choke them to death with popcorn after 8 minutes.