Oh, how we all love us some good old fashioned Contained Action- Thrillers! Last year we got the dreadful but noteworthy "Unstoppable" - in which our two heroes stationed themselves inside a moving train in an attempt to stop an unmanned freight train heading toward a city. Let it be noted, that film is nothing like Source Code. No sir, not one bit. What is Source Code, you ask? Think something along the lines of Die Hard/Groundhog Day/Clue-The board game, in a nutshell.
So, what makes this film different? It's smart, focused, and suspenseful. Whereas in Unstoppable, we pretty much knew where the whole deal was heading. But we're not talking about that film. This is Source Code, and i'm going to tell you straight up, this flick is the best film this year SO FAR.
Source Code begins with our lead character, Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhall), waking up on a Chicago commuter train, opposite Christina (Michelle Monaghan) a woman whom we sense he's never met, talking to him as if they've known each other some time. Immediately after, we learn that he's a Helicopter pilot for the US Army, and that he in fact has never met this woman before. He has no clue how he's gotten to where he is, or why. All he knows is that this woman apparently knows him well, and thinks his name is 'Sean'. Confused by all of this, he goes to the bathroom, only to find that the person in the mirror isn't him, it's someone else. As us, the audience, try to process all of this information in our mind, the train abruptly explodes into flames, killing everyone on board.
The opening immediately attaches you to the story, with the great score, unsettling tone, and disorienting editing. It also leaves us with tons of questions: What the hell just happened? Who is Christina? Who is this 'Sean' Character? Why is Colter in this situation?
Then Colter wakes up again, but now in a dimly lit cement capsule, alone, talking to fellow soldier Goodwin. We discover that the commuter train he was just on was destroyed by a terrorist bomb earlier that day, and that there may be an even larger attack that could destroy Chicago. We also learn that he's a participant in an experimental Army intelligence program that allows him to continually relive the last eight minutes of one of the train's passengers life (Sean), in order to find the bomb and the terrorist who has threatened the larger attack in the heart of Chicago.
And like Groundhog Day, he experiences the same events over and over again, remembering each and every one. Giving him the chance to inspect every suspicious passenger, as well as getting to know Christina a bit more a long the way, and eventually beginning to care for her safety. But unfortunately, all of the these people are already dead, they only exist in the parallel universe of the 'Source Code'. Every eight minutes he's warped back to the capsule, where he is debriefed by Jeffery Wright and Vera Farmiga's characters, then sent back into the Source Code.
The science behind the film is very far-fetched, so it's up to you, the viewer, to let go and let Duncan Jones and his crew take over your mind for an hour and a half. And he promises a very intense thrill ride that will definitely be memorable in the future as a very intelligent and unique take on the contained thriller. Nevertheless, there definitely are plot-holes in the film, and the ending is maybe too subtle for the everyday sci-fi fanatic. But i believe it's safe to say that this film succeeds in almost every category, with the constant suspense and mystery, great action sequences, and the amazing score. Source Code keeps you guessing throughout, anticipating who the bomber could be. The very definition of High Concept.
Source Code is well deserved full price worthy movie that hopefully will become a box office success as well. God knows Hollywood doesn't put out enough original material like this anymore.
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