Source Code – movie review
Sophomore directing effort from Duncan “Zowie” Jones, Source Code sees a vastly bigger budget and a broader scope from the visionary that brought us sci-fan favourite Moon. Described by some as “12 Monkeys meets Groundhog Day,” the film is a high tech sci fi thriller wherein Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko, Brokeback Mountain) finds himself reliving the same 8 minutes of a train journey. To spare yourself my regurgitation of the setup, you may care to watch the first 5 minutes of the film here. Before long, we discover that Gyllenhaal has been sent on a mission to retrieve vital information from this time window in order to prevent a far larger, more destructive terrorist plot – one that is bound for central Chicago with potentially devastating consequences.
Normally, it is pretty easy to watch a movie’s trailer and accurately predict 99.9% of the film’s subsequent outcome, so it is a great relief to be able to report that this is absolutely not the case with Source Code. Jones has crafted a thriller that not only supposes a canny time travel / stream manipulation, but expertly explores the possibilities of these multiple (potential) realities in a way that will constantly keep even the hardiest of nerd guessing. To spoil these twists & turns would be unfair & unjust.
Admittedly, Source Code cannot claim to possess the glacial, Kubrickian stylised appearance that Moon did, but that is a negligible niggle when the audience is swept up in such a whirling dervish of adrenaline soaked plot. The loss of originally slated auteur’s favourite Clint Mansell is a similar blow, but Chris P. Bacon’s score more than holds it own, and ultimately it’s far easier to praise what Is, than to mourn what Could Have Been. Supporting turns from strong female actresses Michelle Monaghan (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) and Vera Farmiga (The Departed) give Gyllenhaal a solid context to work within, and Jeffrey Wright (Casino Royale’s Felix Leiter) is equally notable.
When The Adjustment Bureau opened recently, it was applauded for its grown up, subtle blending of romance into an intrinsically sci-fi story. It has to be said, perhaps whispered, that Source Code has managed to perform an equally sterling job, maybe even better – hopefully this will help the film to cross over to all audiences and not just to the explosion-loving male demographic.
With two for two now, Duncan Jones has graduated from “exciting new talent” to “one to watch.” An interesting, intellect-stimulating, thrilling, romantic science fiction action film, Source Code deserves a big audience who will see it again, and again, and again…
NB: This review was first written for Blogomatic 3000 .