Review: Source Code

THE SETUP: An American soldier (Jake Gyllenhaal) is caught between two realities, one where he’s a teacher on a train trying to find a bomb before it goes off and the other in current time where he’s trying to figure out how the hell he got there in this situation.

THE THOUGHTS: When is the last time you saw an intelligent science fiction movie? I’m not talking about laser guns and spaceships, I mean one where you had to think and it didn’t treat you like an idiot. Source Code is that kind of movie. You may think going back in time to relive the same incident over and over might be a bit tedious but this is anything but. A great story that lays out information like bread crumbs until the payoff in the end. It reminded me of an old Twilight Zone episode in that the comes off more than you originally think it will. Jake Gyllenhaal, after shaking off the crap that was Prince of Persia, does a damn fine job as the soldier trying to understand his mission and on how to complete it. There’s not a big cast here: Vera Farmiga (from Up in the Air) and Jeffrey Wright (from Casino Royal) play the top brass in charge of this new experiment and provide the bits of authority, caring and menace the roles need. Michelle Monaghan is cute as the love interest on the train and you could see why a guy would want to protect her…a major point to the story. This is a great character-driven thriller that relies very little on special effects other than the big explosion that is the reason for the whole mission. OK, I’m going to stop typing so you can go this movie already.

4 stars – you’d recommend this. Smart, intense, emotional and with cool explosions, Director Duncan Jones does it again with his second theatrical effort. I’m really excited to see what he does next.

Random Recommendations
Moon (2009) – Duncan Jones knew what he was doing from the start. The man does smart sci-fi and started with this story of a man doing routine maintenance work on a facility on the Moon. If I told you more than that, I’d ruin it. Another smart, kickass movie from Jones.

Primer (2004) – Feeling ambitious? On a shoe-strong budget ($7,000…yes you read that right), writer/director Shane Carruth tells a complicated story of four entrepreneurs who invent time travel and how it affects their lives. It’s a very complex story, not that I didn’t realize that it was a good movie but I don’t know if I completely understood it by then end. Sounds like it needs a 2nd look.

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