Thursday, April 7, 2011

Review: Source Code

For those of you who don't know, I am a huge fan of sci-fi thrillers and after Moon back in 2009, I became a fan of Duncan Jones. However, in order to establish yourself as a credible filmmaker, your follow-up has to be as good or even better. Source Code is that follow-up.

After waking up in the body of another man, Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) discovers that he is apart of "Source Code", a government-sanctioned experiment meant to identify criminals, specifically the bomber of a Chicago commuter train, by means of re-living the last eight minutes of a particular victim's life over and over again.

At one point Captain Colter Stevens is even advised to use "whatever force necessary" in order to extract as much information from the passengers as possible, but it's okay because they're already dead and the government told him he could do it. But I digress...

Personally, I have two strong thoughts on this movie: 1.) The acting is perhaps the highlight of this film and 2.) Things were too predictable, but I'll get to that later.

Since City Slickers back in 1991, Jake Gyllenhaal has come a long way as an actor, starring in roles from  a schizophrenic teenager with homicidal tendancies to the Prince of Persia to a cowboy with homosexual tendancies; never disappointing us (except for maybe Prince of Persia). In Source Code, Jake gives my favorite performance of his as the always on, slightly off Captain Stevens.

Michelle Monaghan is likeable as always as the Captain's innocent love interest and the rest of the supporting cast does an equally impressive job making those little moments in Source Code, where everybody's character comes out just a bit, count.

Now we get to my biggest problem with this film: it's too predictable. Sure it starts off right in the middle of everything and starts asking questions right off the bat, but not anything you can't piece together from the trailer alone. Secondly, Duncan Jones needs to work on his foreshadowing; I knew who the perp was about fifteen minutes into the film and that's no exaggeration.

What's probably more interesting than piecing together the "whodunnit" on the train is figuring out who Captain Stevens is, what  the "Source Code" is, and why he's in it. These were the questions that interested me the most but sadly, they were pretty much answered all at once about halfway into the film.

I had this same problem with Moon. So why do I like Duncan Jones so much? Because no matter how predictable I find his films to be, I still enjoy them, very much.

Like Moon, Source Code is paced so well that even after all my questions had been answered, things kept truckin' right along and I was so emotionally invested in these characters, mostly due in part to the wonderful acting, that I wanted to see how everything turned out.

Though I saw it coming and the ending was a little conventional for me, I couldn't help but crack a smile by the end credits.

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