Is it possible to bend time just enough to prevent something bad from happening? That’s (part of) the premise for the new DVD release of Source Code, which causes audiences to suspend all sense of logic for the better.
Source Code followed decorated soldier Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) who woke up from a mission in Afghanistan on a commuter train headed for Chicago in the body of a complete stranger. He has no idea how he got there or how it was even possible. Stevens is totally out of sorts and unable to understand his purpose until the train explodes. He soon wakes up in a cold environment and greeted by Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) a fellow soldier following the orders of her boss Dr. Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright). It turned out that Stevens was being used in the Doctor’s program called “Source Code” as a way to figure out who bombed the commuter train he was just on. His way on the train was through the body of one of the victims who matched his physical body chemistry. Unfortunately, the only complication to the mission is a passenger named Christina Warren (Michelle Monaghan) who Stevens wanted to save and became his only ally on the train. Can Stevens catch the bomber in time before his Source Code mission goes up in flames?
In terms of mindbending material, Director Duncan Jones has become a modern day David Lynch by mixing thriller material and throwing all sense of logic to the wind. His first film Moon also placed a hero in great peril from his environment and himself as his own worst enemy. Code has a similiar idea but launched it on a far grander scale than Moon ever did. Code demonstrated how science could be used for both the greater good and for self serving purposes as well. Wright’s character Dr. Rutledge used his Source Code program to help others, but he overlooked the cost of what it was doing to Gyllenhaal’s character. What life would Stevens have had beyond the Source Code? Once he was in, there was no going back.
What also made Code work was Gyllenhaal as the likable hero. Audiences couldn’t help but root for him. He seems more at home in films like Code and Donnie Darko than the conventional action films that usually populate theatres in the summer (2010’s Prince of Persia: Sands of Time springs to mind). Gyllenhaal’s easygoing chemistry with Monaghan added the romance factor and a sidekick for him as he tried to stop the bomb from exploding. Monaghan also had the added task of making what could’ve been a thankless supporting role memorable as she made Christina someone Stevens could love and fear given the moment. The movie’s biggest casualties were Farmiga and Wright as government officials who were truly oblivious to the magnitude of using Source Code. Farmiga’s character got the opportunity to evolve into a human figure towards the end as she felt Stevens’ pain, but it was too little too late. Wright, on the other hand, had nothing to do but bark out orders and have an ulterior motive to think about. Meanwhile, audiences will be remembering this movie long after the end credits roll.
Verdict: A movie that transcends logic with a well written story and two leads with great chemistry.
Movie Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Movie Rating: PG-13
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)