Source Code - Movie Review
Source Code is one of those movies where you're constantly trying to understand what's going on, and long after it's over you're still trying to figure out the exact same thing. I like movies like that. It doesn't always make sense, and I'm pretty sure this one doesn't, but I found myself thinking about it for a long time until I found myself thinking of ways it could make sense. Suddenly, I was the sci-fi author, and that's the kind of transformation I look for when I go to the theater.
The film begins with Lt. Colter Stevens (played by Jake Gyllenhaal), who awakes in a wreckage only to be mentally transported into the mind of a dead man for eight minutes at a time. Why this is happening to him and how is a mystery to him, but the guy was trained to take orders and that's what he does. Not that he has much of a choice. His superiors communicate to him through a small screen and tell him that the man who died was a victim of a terrorist bombing on a train that same morning. His job is to revisit the man's memory over and over again until he has identified the terrorist so that the army can intervene before he strikes again, this time with a dirty bomb in a major city.
The film then leans from sci-fi into a mystery, and then, with the introduction to the dead man's girlfriend, into a romance. Colter likes her too, but with only eight minutes what difference could that make?
The film has so much going on and so much ground to cover in such a short amount of time, that it's a miracle any sense is made of it at all. The writer and director, Duncan Jones, has proven his sci-fi capabilities before with my personal favorite Moon. Here he's dealing with tangent worlds splintering off into infinite loops while juggling time travel, a political thriller and a romance. Think about it too hard, and things might unravel, but watch the movie and the loose threads won't matter. There are enough problems to deal with to avoid the question of how.
This might be a guy movie, but I suspect the inclusion of Jake Gyllenhaal could make it easier for the ladies. His performance is great, and I suspect this character could have been Donnie Darko all grown up. From the trailers, I expected a fair amount of action, and it does deliver, but what I didn't expect was the certain haunting feeling that the movie acquires. It takes science and adapts it to life after death. It takes physicality and removes it from the importance of influence. It doesn't matter if the whole concept makes complete sense, it only matters if the concept makes some sense out of you. This is a film I would be glad to revisit, even if I am just thinking about it.