Sunday, April 3, 2011

Source Code

The premise to Source Code is very interesting. Directed by Duncan Jones (Moon) and written by first-time screenwriter Ben Ripley, U.S. Army Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) wakes up on a train across from a woman named Christina (Michelle Monaghan). He has no idea how he got there. He walks into the bathroom and sees that his face is not his own. Suddenly the train blows up. Colter awakes inside a machine called the source code created by Dr. Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright) and overseen by Captain Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga). The machine allows Colter to go back to a real-life train explosion that took place earlier that day and interact with reality to determine who the bomber is. He can't alter reality, its like a simulation. He needs to find out who the bomber is because another attack will happen later that day from the same terrorist.

Like I said, the premise was very fascinating and I was heavily anticipating this. Although since Jones didn't co-write this like he did his directorial debut, I was keeping my expectations a little in check. Jones's visual style was there and this film does deal with a character somewhat isolated from what is really going on, but like I expected, the film falters with its script. All of the supporting characters are very one-dimensional. Christina might've been interesting, but we see her personality reset every eight minutes (the length of Colter's time in the source code). Gyllenhaal on the other hand, remains the emotional connection one has to the story. I actually really enjoyed him in this; he's carried films in the past whether he is the lead or part of ensemble. Not to say he completely fails, but he doesn't have much backing him up both in terms of a supporting cast and in how the story ultimately develops.

Without getting into spoilers, the final ten to fifteen minutes of the movie also felt very unnecessary. Like Moon, the ending is optimistic and it isn't that I disliked that, I just don't like how it's structured after Colter's mission kind of wraps up, so to speak. Like I said, the film is a fun and intelligent science-fiction thriller, it just really drops the ball when it comes to evoking any emotions in me at least up until the end.

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