Review: Source Code

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Posted March 17th, 2011 at 9:30 am

As the sophomore effort for director Duncan Jones, Source Code feels more like a standard sci-fi thriller than the well regarded but tragically underseen Moon. That being said¬†Source Code brings some unique ideas and delivers a compelling method of storytelling though it ultimately doesn’t reach the level of emotional impact that it attempts to achieve.

Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a soldier taking part in a program called “The Source Code” which can send someone back to re-live a point in time for eight minutes. In this case his mission is to discover who bombed a commuter train that morning in an effort to stop a much larger attack on Chicago.

The scenario is semi-plausible and the explanation of “The Source Code” is done well enough to establish it and its rules and get the audience to buy into the concept along with the character who seems to have no previous knowledge of what he is involved in. The most interesting aspect is that its essentially a computer program and not time travel as Colter Stevens has to deal with the insistence that he can not save any of those people he interacts with on the train.

Obviously through all his efforts and despite what he is told he has the desire to save those who perished, in particular Christina (Michelle Monaghan) who is the friend of the man who’s body he takes over. Despite the film being incredibly fast paced that relationship being built felt genuine even if somewhat simplified and cliched.

That fast pace is established early and never lets up. Despite a heavy tone there are some moments of humor which works to break that up to an extent. The action sequences and special effects are really well done.

By the time a huge reveal is made (meant to be a shocker) the emotional attachment with the characters isn’t completely there and due to that it falls somewhat flat. While it was handled really well, and altered some of the assumptions that had been made by the audience, it didn’t come across as that surprising. More interesting was the ramifications that accompanied having that knowledge.

Even the ending, though very interesting and discussion-worthy, doesn’t quite reach the impactful nature that had been intended. That could largely be attributed to the concept being more compelling than the characters involved.

While it may not completely fulfill its potential Source Code is a well executed and entertaining thriller with intriguing sci-fi elements mixed in.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Source Code is rated PG-13 and opens on April 1st.