I very much love and appreciate hard sic-fi, so when a friend made me sit down and watch the first film from Duncan Jones, (2009’s MOON) I was intrigued. And while I actually didn’t love that film, I dug what Jones was doing. This was an outstanding (if slightly telegraphed) idea, and had wonderful nuggets of science, something all too commonly lacking in a sci-fi story.
So when the same friend recommended SOURCE CODE I was curious but a bit hesitant. When Keith pushed me to watch it I caved, knowing his love of time travel meant I was probably in good hands here. WOW was I ever.
Jake Gyllenhaal plays Captain Stevens, a decorated soldier, who wakes up in the body of an unknown man and discovers he’s part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train. It’s a government experiment called Source Code, a program that enables him to cross over into another man’s identity in the last 8 minutes of his life. Captain Stevens must re-live the incident over and over again, hoping to find the key to the identity of the bomber so that he can prevent a second, larger threat that would kill millions. With each run through, he gathers another clue.
Shades of GROUNDHOG DAY and DEJA VU abound in this, along with a healthy dose of “Quantum Leap” thrown in for good measure (I commented to Mel over and over during the movie that it felt like Quantum Leap, and was rewarded with Scott Bakula as a voice on the phone late in the film. Rock On!) But surprisingly, this ISNT a time travel story. Source Code doesn’t allow for time travel, simply revisiting an event that has already happened. But in a nifty bit of hard science, they do bring up the possibility of alternate realities. Intelligent science in a smart science fiction film. What a concept!
Jake Gyllenhaal is always solid, and he’s becoming one of my favorite actors simply because of the range and versatility he’s shown. Michelle Monaghan is more than just a damsel in distress, and Jeffry Wright plays the doctor behind the project very believably. But the stand out performance is from Vera Farmiga as Goodwin. She infuses a quantifiable Human quotient to the proceedings, (along the same lines as Reginald Vel Johnson’s Al Powell in DIE HARD.)
It’s a brilliant thriller, engaging, thought provoking and well made. And unlike MOON, SOURCE CODE allowed me to think I had it all figured out, then blew my mind in the last twenty minutes. They don’t get much better.
SORUCE CODE – A+