Probably the year’s most misleadingly titled movie, Source Code opens up with Cpt. Colter Stevens, a military helicopter pilot, aboard a plane. His reflection shows a different person, there’s a lady who seems to know him by a different name, and the last thing he recalls is being on a mission in Afghanistan. Just as he begins trying to comprehend what’s going on, a bomb goes off behind him, and he wakes up in an odd-shaped cell with wires and screens all over it.
A woman on one of the screens fills him in on what’s going on: He’ll keep waking up the same way he did (and dying eight minutes later), until he can figure out where the bomb is and who planted it. This train was bombed just that morning, and Colter enters the scenario via ‘source code’ of one of its doomed passengers, a schoolteacher named Sean Fentress. ‘Source Code’ here is described as a phenomenon in which a deceased brain still possesses memories of its last eight minutes of life, and Colter (by way of some mish-mash of sci-fi physics) is able to exist in that memory as an alternate reality.
Via each of his trips back into Source Code, Colter soon develops a relationship with the lady he first met, manages to stumble more than anything into the conclusion to his investigation, and realises how he ended up in Source Code after Afghanistan.
I had no idea what to expect in this show, but it turned out brilliantly. Jake Gyllenhaal was really convincing as a born soldier trying to make the best of his confusion and despair, and I enjoyed the warmth and pace of his developing relationship with Christina, his fellow passenger played by Michelle Monaghan. For anyone who wasn’t impressed with him before (me included), we’re all gonna start taking notice now. I wasn’t a fan of that bit of over-acting by Jeffrey Wright as the Source Code’s creator, but I can forgive it in light of everything else here.
The ending could’ve been better in a less-is-more kinda way, which is what’s simply going to make this Source Code simply a lesser Inception paying tribute to Groundhog Day, The Matrix and the Red Alert game series, but the combination of comicbook fan and romantic in me could understand and accept it.
Director: Duncan Jones
Producer: Mark Gordon, Jordan Wynn & Philippe Rousselet
Scriptwriter: Ben Ripley
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright