Source Code - Review



Without being one of the overhyped movies this year, "Source Code"'s trailer promised a very interesting plot and potential for being one of the smarter thrillers of 2011. Now that it's released, does it reach the level of smart movies like "Inception"?



The plot:
Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) wakes with a jolt to find himself on a commuter train heading into Chicago. Although the other passengers all seem to know him, he has absolutely no idea where-or even who-he is. The last thing Colter remembers is flying a helicopter mission in Iraq, but here he is in someone else's life going through someone else's morning commute. Before he can do anything, an express train zooms by on the opposite track and a bomb explodes, seemingly killing Colter and all the other passengers.
Colter awakes in an isolation chamber, strapped to a seat, and wearing his military flight suit. He still has no idea what's happening, except that he's being spoken to by mission controller Carol Goodwin (Vera Farmiga). He learns he's part of an operation called "Beleaguered Castle," but before he can progress any further, Goodwin starts up the machinery and suddenly...Colter is back on the train, at exactly the same time he first appeared there, once again speeding through Chicago with the same group of commuters. Colter figures he's in some kind of simulation exercise, with his task being to find the bomber onboard the train before it goes off again. Living the explosion over and over, Colter must uncover the identity of the bomber, while also figuring out what the alternative universe of "Beleaguered Castle" is.

The movie has a very smart and interesting premise. It often reminded me of "12 monkeys" which had the same idea of changing the events of the future by repeatedly traveling back in time.
Source Code has a good pace that always keeps you interested in whats about to happen next (essential for a thriller). This is underlined by the fact that the audience always knows exactly as much as the main character Colter does.
Although i am sure that there are some people that may find the plot of reapeating the same situation tedious and annoying like in "groundhog day". But that has nothing to do with the quality of the actual movie rather than someone's individual taste in movies.

Overall the script is written very well. You always get invested in the story of how the same situation changes by gyllenhaals decisions while at the same time he tries to find out what's going on in the "real" world (the source code capsule).
The movie does a great job balancing and mixing investigation story with action-packed thriller elements.
Unfortunately the dialogue as well as the emotional moments of this flick are kind of a hit n' miss thing. The dialogue feels very stiff and clunky while at other times it is smartly written. Sometimes the movie also has some weird out of nowhere emotional moments, which feel a bit out of place, while at other times they are placed and acted suprisingly well.
Of course some viewers may find the idea of a machine like the source code not extended enough to its full potential in this movie. But luckily the movie avoids being too complicated for its own good. For example the 8 minutes in this movie sometimes feel quite a bit longer but let's not be too nip picky.
On the other hand "Source Code" has some of the coolest last 30 seconds (the ending) of a movie yet. It definately leaves an impact on the viewer and fills some occuring plot holes of the script.


The acting especially concerning, gyllenhaal and monaghan, was ok but not good at the start of the movie (for example gyllenhaal acted a bit too cool concidering the situation his character is in). Luckily, somehow the acting quickly tended to get better and better after the audience is introduced to the main storyline. Despite the fact that michelle monaghan's character doesn't have that much of an impact on the plot (aside from being a love interest), the on-screen chemistry between her and gyllenhaal remains believable and not too over-the-top.

When i first watched the trailer for Source Code, i honstely was a bit worried about a possible overuse of CGI. To my surprise i was completely wrong. The CG is very limited for a sci-fi flick and is used wisely througout the entire experience.

All in all, Duncan Jones once again proves to be a very capable and talented director. What started with his successful sci-fi movie "Moon" from 2009, now continues with one of the finest thrillers this year, "Source Code".


Final Verdict: 7 out of 10

 

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