In 2009, British filmmaker Duncan Jones burst onto the scene with his highly acclaimed sci-fi drama Moon. His current film, Source Code, is another sci-fi thriller. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Captain Stevens, an Afghan helicopter pilot who inexplicably wakes up on a combat mission in the body of another man on a commuter train heading to Chicago.
Soon enough, he discovers that he is part of a government experiment known as Source Code, that allows someone to cross over to a dead personâ€™s body to relive the last 8 minutes of their life â€“ the exact amount of short term memory still intact when a person first dies. The commuter train explodes at the end of the 8 minutes and the mission involves finding out who planted the bomb and who is responsible. Consequently, Captain Stevens is sent back into the 8-minute memory sequence until all the mysteries are unravelled. Each jump to the train allows Stevens to take a slightly different approach to the mission â€“ creating moments of subtle humour, tense drama, and surprisingly believable sympathy.
The filmâ€™s lead, Jake Gyllenhaal, gives an adequate performance as Captain Stevens and shares a fresh, comedic chemistry with his female commuter train counterpart, Michelle Monaghan. Gyllenhaal portrays his characterâ€™s confusion, mission, and personal story effectively. That said, for a character thatâ€™s written as a master of details (and memory) â€“ the script fails Stevens by routinely showing the Captainâ€™s difficulty at understanding the most basic elements of the Source Code premise.
Despite an over-complicated premise, Source Code succeeds at being an above average sci-fi thriller. The audience will definitely enjoy the film with itâ€™s fast moving story beats, but the film falls short of being as smart as it aims to be and the ending may leave the audience a bit disappointed with the directorâ€™s approach. Overall, the film is thoroughly entertaining and just the right length, but the film is a better candidate for a rainy night of DVD watching than a trip to the cinema.
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