Movie Review: Source Code [2011, Jones]

Source Code [2011]

Source Code [2011]
Director: Duncan Jones
Genre: Mystery/Sci-Fi/Thriller
Language: English
Country: USA

Groundhog Day meets… Speed?

Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhall) is having a hell of a day. He wakes up on board a Chicago-bound Metra commuter train, and he is no idea how he got there. Worse yet, he appears to be living in someone else’s body. This person, a school teacher named Sean, is sitting across from his good friend Christina (Michelle Monaghan). Everything appears to be business as usual until the train explodes after exactly eight minutes, killing everyone on board. Stevens wakes up in an unfamiliar location and is quickly contacted by Air Force Captain Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga), who briefs him on his situation. Stevens learns that there was a bomb on the train, and that he is being used as part of a secret U.S. Military program to figure out who placed the explosives. He is forced to repeat the same eight minute sequence over and over until he determines who was responsible for the destruction.

Source Code [2011]

Source Code is pretty intense, with several twists and turns amidst the frantic sci-fi thriller pacing. Even though it presents some interesting philosophical and ethical questions, the movie has a mostly benevolent attitude throughout (somewhat similar to The Adjustment Bureau in this regard). There are several moments where one will need to suspend their disbelief, but this is to be expected given the plot premise.

It’s easy to get behind the character of Colter Stevens thanks to a great performance from Gyllenhall. He brings a certain human element to his character, even bringing the laughs during dire moments. Michelle Monaghan does well despite having what is essentially a throwaway role. I was most impressed with Vera Farmiga, who excels despite being on a computer screen during many of her scenes. She is quickly becoming one of my favorite actresses. Jeffrey Wright is also another standout here as the leader of the Source Code program, effortlessly showing he is the man in charge.

Source Code [2011]

I enjoyed Source Code about as much as I enjoyed The Adjustment Bureau, which is to say quite a bit. Duncan Jones’ title digs deeper and is perhaps “smarter” overall but both are a lot of fun. I would have opted for a different ending in Source Code, but it hardly ruined the experience for me. Fast-paced, intelligent and suspenseful, Source Code is one of the better movies to come out this year.


14 thoughts on “Movie Review: Source Code [2011, Jones]

  1. Castor says:

    I liked Source Code although I didn’t feel it was firing on all cylinder. I think the ending left to be desired, as if it was half-assed or extraneous just to get the movie to the required 90 minutes run-time. I also think the concept should have been pushed further in creative terms. The 8 minutes was very limiting I thought.

  2. CMrok93 says:

    A well-paced and structured sci-fi thriller that’s as complex as it is clear-headed. Also, Gyllenhaal shows again why exactly he really is one of the better leading men out there, and proves he still has that charm. Good Review!

  3. Scott Lawlor says:

    I agree Source Code is a good film. The only let down for me, and I have said this before, was the ending. I like a darker more sombre approach. So could have finished 10 mins before!!

    Great write up my friend

  4. Armando says:

    Great review. Looks like a fun film. I was a bit put off at first by the trailer. But I’ve heard mostly good things about it. It’s definitely next on my Netflix queue. I read most of the script and the writing at least is engaging.

  5. timetodonothing says:

    The ending is to be expected. I used to hate fairytale, major motion picture endings, but nowadays they are just, simply, to be expected. Why get upset knowing that more than 9 times out of ten a movie will try to make me happier? It’s what people want.

    Anyways, I thought the movie was thoughtful and when the truth of his situation was revealed I was certainly took for a complete headspin. A+ from me.

  6. familybishop says:

    TAB is too obvious and preachy, though. I don’t like feeling like I’m being sold some philosophy (even if I agree with it). My favorite movies are about flawed but courageous characters. One more thing: IMO, I think Matt Damon has been subpar in most of his recent “non-Bourne” movies. I hope Jake Gyllenhall was better in “Source Code” than Damon was in TAB.

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