A large portion of audiences don’t want to have to think too hard when they watch a film, preferring entertainment over thought-provoking subjects. There’s nothing wrong with this, but I believe sometimes, you need to branch out. Enter Source Code…
This is both an enthralling and intellectually stimulating movie! Directed by Duncan Jones, Source Code is about alternate realities and modified timelines. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as US Army Pilot Colton Stevens, who wakes up on a commuter train, confused and bewildered as only the day earlier he was on a mission in Afghanistan.
It’s clear from the outset that Source Code is going to be a mind-bender. Not only does Colton have no idea how he ended up on a train, but miraculously, he appears to be inhabiting someone else’s body. Opposite him sits a stranger, Christina (Michelle Monaghen), that seems to know him very well and to his confusion, calls him Shaun.
The premise and the film’s opening scenes may seem ridiculous, but that is exactly what makes the film so good. The way the film progresses is well engaging and in many ways, unsettling. It’s the perplexing plot that keeps you watching. As we discover, Colton is actually a part of an experimental programme called “Source Code”. He has been assigned the task of reliving the last eight minutes of another man’s life, in order to retrieve crucial information regarding the identity of a terrorist.
Is this all real ,we wonder? Well, Colton experiences this reality in an alternative timeline, and each time he fails, he is again sent back on board the train, in order to complete his mission. Colton’s infuriating experience happens all against his will, as he has no control over the mysterious “Source Code”. It is all orchestrated and explained by the Air Force Captain, Coleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga), who Colton communicates with throughout the film.
Source Code is a non-stop whirlwind of a film, as over and over again, Colton relives the same eight minutes, desperately searching for clues before the time runs out. What may sound like a very frustrating premise, is actually really enjoyable to watch. In this thrilling narrative, you really hope Colton succeeds in what seems like a never-ending Groundhog Day scenario.
Beneath the film’s sublime special effects and and heart-racing plot, is actually a touching story about living every moment like it’s your last, and making every second count. As cliche as this sounds, the film really seems to emphasise this idea, but of course with a scientific twist. So amidst the action and chaos, there is a very compelling human story. Also, once again Jake Gyllenhaal produces a brilliant performance and he is certainly more than capable of playing a convincing action hero.
The richness of the storytelling in Source Code is the film’s biggest strength, as well as its ability to keep you guessing. A greatly unpredictable film that is at its core, an entertaining pop-corn flick, with a deeply satisfying story, which forces you to interpret the complex narrative.
A planned television series was cancelled in 2014, and instead a sequel was announced which has been in development ever since. I’d be open to seeing a continuation of the Source Code world, but I wouldn’t be too bothered if a sequel didn’t happen. A sequel isn’t necessary. It works perfectly well as a stand-alone film.
If you like mind-bending movies with unexpected twists, then you’ll love Source Code. It’s an an action-packed thrill ride with a very high replay value.
Director: Duncan Jones
Writer: Ben Ripley
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga.
Distributor: Summit Entertainment
Run Time: 93 minutes
Let me know what you thought of Source Code in the comment section!