Colter Stevens (Jake Gylenhall) wakes up on a commuter train heading to Chicago. He’s seated opposite Christina (Michelle Monaghan) who although he has no recollection as to who she is, appears to be in the middle of a conversation with him. After a few minutes, 8 minutes precisely as we are about to discover, the train explodes killing everyone on board. Stevens ‘wakes up’ in a confined metal pod, he’s strapped in and as unaware of his surroundings as he was in the train. He is questioned by a military officer, Goodwin (Vera Farmiga). She wants to know if he knows who the bomber on the train is, when Stevens answers ‘no’ he is sent back to the train. This time he is slightly more aware as to what is happening and realises that he is living the same 8 minutes as before.
Again the train explodes and Stevens finds himself back in the pod, this time he wants answers, what is happening to him, where are his squad, the last thing he remembers is being under attack in Afghanistan. A senior officer, Dr Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright) explains quickly that Stevens part of a project that can put him inside another person’s consciousness but only during the last 8 minutes of that person’s life. He can help the military prevent an explosion in busy down-town Chicago, but only if he finds the train bomber… he’s sent back to the train, again and again.
The script is a good blend of thriller, sci-fi and emotional drama. It has enough tech-talk to keep the sci-fi fans happy and is a smart enough thriller with some nice character moments to hold your interest for the duration. The end is a stretch but if you’re willing to go with it then it’s satisfying conclusion to an original idea. It has been compared to last year’s best film Inception; it’s not as good as that and has also been compared to ‘Déjà Vu’ (2006) with Denzel Washington with which it shares more similar themes. Although Source Code lacks the budget of both those movies it doesn’t suffer at all by comparison.
Source Code is the second feature from Duncan Jones, the man behind one of my favourite movies of 2009, ‘Moon’ which starred Sam Rockwell whose exceptional performance was overlooked for all of last year’s Best Actor Awards. As with Moon, Jones has crafted another smart, entertaining and suspenseful film. The actors are solid and believable. The effects, again, as with Moon, are better than their budget would imply. This is definitely worth seeing if you want something other than fast cars, loud explosions, pounding music score or sequels to sequels.
Quality: 4 out of 5 stars
Any good: 4 out of 5 stars