Directed by: Duncan Jones
Written by: Ben Ripley
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Source Code is a mysterious, suspenseful, action film with a bit of a twist to it. A soldier (Gyllenhaal; Donnie Darko) awakens in a dark pod. He doesn”t remember how he got there. He”s told by another soldier named Goodwin (Farmiga; Up In The Air) on a video screen that it is his mission to travel into the “source code” and find out who is responsible for blowing up a train in Chicago earlier that morning. The twist is that he is another person on the train and he can only go back 8 minutes at a time. So he must solve the crime by re-living the same 8 minutes over and over. And he must also figure out where he is and what has happened to him.
Source Code has developed an interesting reputation as a Matrix wannabe, but in actuality that”s far oversimplification. The movie is nothing like The Matrix. It really stands alone as quite original. And it starts out really wonderfully.
The beginning of the film is meticulous. You as an audience member are really inside the mind of the protagonist. You are thinking the same things, noticing the same things, hearing the same things. Little bits and pieces of plot and clues are being dripped to you by the filmmakers. It”s a wonderful experience. The movie starts off with you in a confused state, but that”s exactly how the lead is.
This is a wonderful method of storytelling and it”s done very well. At least at first. I”d say the first half hour is really wonderful, if not longer. There”s no fake construct to get you into the movie. It starts and blam you”re in the center of it.
Soon the mysteries start to get solved, little by little. And by the hour mark the movie is really over for all intents and purposes. This is the beginning of the movie going downhill. For some reason within this perfectly good movie they decided to jam a love interest in that there”s no purpose for at all. Although Michelle Monaghan plays the part well and she”s exactly the girl you”d fall for were you commuting every day with her, she”s unnecessary to the story and is the cause for a misstep of a romantic subplot. Because yes even though you would develop a crush on her if you were commuting every day with her, our character is not, he”s merely inside the memory of someone who did.
They use this romance to overshadow other things. Such as who blew up the train. That gets solved in a rather anti-climactic manner. It”s just “oh okay, here”s the guy”. You”d hope or suspect a twist but you don”t get it. Instead it”s just solved and then the movie moves away from this brilliant psychological mystery territory it was in and goes with an emotional/romantic direction. It basically becomes a different film for the last half hour. Everything just works out a little too easy.
But there”s that really good 3/4 of the movie and also a wonderful performance by Vera Farmiga that shouldn”t be missed. I have to say I highly recommend this, but be warned that the ending isn”t really that satisfactory. They do try to throw a minor twist of a bone to us but it”s just kinda too little too late at that point, at least for me.
Check this one out though. It”s available on Blu-ray and DVD July 26th.