by Cherszy (@cherszy)
Eight minutes. He blows up. Eight minutes. He blows up. And the rest is history repeating itself.
Looks like our hero is in a loop – literally.
Sent on a mission to investigate the bombing of a commuter train in Chicago in order to find the bomber – not the suicide type apparently – to prevent another plotted explosion attack from happening, Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) finds himself in an odd position of revisiting and reliving the scene of the disaster in the body of one of the passengers, Sean Fentress. While he sits on the train, still dazed and confused, time is ticking off his watch – his eight minutes is about to be over and he is going to get his body up in flames again. As he questions the nature of his rather queer assignment, Stevens learns that he was chosen to be the model for a new government experiment involving the “source code”, which is a program designed to allow one person to take the identity of another person for the last eight minutes of the latter’s life in what seems to be a parallel universe. With the power of such a technology, Stevens goes on to search for clues on the incident in each of the eight minutes that he relives on that train as Sean.
Innovative and exciting, Source Code feeds the audience with a different kind of thrill. With an original (nerdy) storyline coupled with stimulating action scenes, the film is an adventure to look out for. The fresh concept of the program “source code” allows the imagination to run wild and to explore the possibility of the once impossible. In a world fueled by technology, Ben Ripley is smart enough to write such a brilliant sci-fi story out of this reality. There is a mark of ingenuity and a hint of promise of science breakthrough in this film such that the mind is challenged to explore the feasibility of such a concept in the real world. (Who knows, we might hear of “project source code” soon.)
While a creative plot is one big thumbs up, the monotonicity in many of the recurring scenes is rather disappointing. The eight-minute throwback into the train and back to what is Steven’s reality afterwards may be a new thing to witness on the screen, but after several frames of almost similar scenes, it can get a little dull. Although Steven’s train experience is different every time he get sends back, the difference is not always complex enough to blow us
up away. There’s clearly a great storyline at hand, but the intricacy of the development of the plot does not come out as the movie’s strongest point.
Even if the presence of repetitive scenes throughout the film is quite a problem, Source Code makes up for it by loading the scenes with action and suspense. These two elements are powerful enough to capture the audience’s attention and keep them engaged. The film did indeed live up to it being an action thriller – thanks to director Duncan Jones. But, it is not just any other action thriller as the action is unconventional and the suspense keeps one’s heart hanging from start to end. Source Code is more than just explosions, gunshots, and punches on the face (I would like to say that there is some sort of a dramatic twist to each punch and to each explosion). The action was simply beautifully executed. The suspense, on the other hand, is likewise intense. An air of mystery surrounds each of the passengers on the train, including the spectators who simply gaze at the “crazy” Colter Stevens running back and forth, as the bomber among them is on pursuit. The suspense is in every frame of the film, but the mystery does not end together with the suspense as Source Code leaves room for the imagination to dwell on a couple of unanswered questions as the credits start to roll. Duncan Jones really did a fantastic job here, no doubt.
However, a great director and a creative writer will not be able to pull off a beautiful movie without a talented cast to give life to the script. Jake Gyllenhaal has shown growth as an actor in this film and really did Captain Colter Stevens justice. His performance was heartfelt, and he successfully channeled the emotions through the screen and into the hearts of the audience. Michelle Monaghan, who plays Christina Warren, is absolutely fun to watch with her charming portrayal of a confused friend. Both Vera Farmiga and Jeffrey Wright, who play government agents Colleen Goodwin and Dr. Rutledge, gave satisfactory performances although I would have wanted to see them push a little further.
Ninety minutes were spent to learn about “source code” which in turn taught us about the importance of every minute we spend to learn something about life. Every second counts; you better make good use of it.
So, what would you do if you knew you only had one minute to live?