Wednesday, August 31, 2011


For the last couple of years the world of movies has taken over by sequel mania. It's been a never ending stream of sequels, remakes, "re-imaginings" or blatant rip offs of older movies and it shows no sign of stopping. There's been a few good ones, but also a whole bunch of terrible ones. Every once in a while, we get a decent, original story and it's always a breath of fresh air. 2009 had Duncan Jones direct Moon, which was a good sci fi flick and had an interesting concept and terrific performance by Sam Rockwell. Jones now turned his attention towards the action scene and his new film is one of the best movies this year.


Source Code opens with Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) waking up on a train, with no memory of how he got there or why. We learn that Colter is an Army helicopter pilot and has been in combat in Afghanistan, and apparently is one tough bastard seeing as how he survived a disastrous mission and saved the life of his buddies. Across from him sits Christina (Michelle Monaghan), who starts a conversation with him despite the fact he has no idea who she is. Confused, Colter makes his way to a bathroom where he is shocked to discover his reflection on the mirror shows the face of another man. A bomb explodes on the train, killing everyone on board, and all of a sudden, Colter wakes up inside a dark, capsule looking thing with a uniformed woman (Vera Farmiga) speaking to him on a computer monitor.

Colter is told that he is in fact working inside the Source Code, a rift in time that allows a user to re-live the last 8 minutes of a person's life. He has been placed into the body of Sean Fentress, a teacher and passenger on the train, to try and find out who has put the bomb on the train. Colter must find the people responsible and prevent an even bigger nuclear attack against a major city. He is placed back into the Source Code and each time he relives the last 8 minutes, but small differences begin to appear, as he starts to predict things like accidents, things people say, etc. Colter also begins to doubt the official explanation given to him by Vera Farmiga's character, and he not only has to stop the bombing, but also investigate just why they won't give him any more information about where he is or about the project's secretive boss (Jeffrey Wright).


At first the glance, the plot might seem a bit confusing, but if you've seen movies like Memento or The Prestige, you'll know that by paying attention it really isn't all that hard to follow along. Gyllenhaal does a great job with his role, showing both the take charge side of his soldier character and the confused side of the guy inside the Source Code capsule. He is surprisingly convincing as a grizzled veteran, and does his action scenes pretty well. Michelle Monaghan is in most of the movie, and does a great job with adding little changes to her constantly replayed scenes. Everyone else puts in a decent effort as well. The real highlight is the thriller basics in the story. The movie plays out like a fast-paced action flick but has some great plot points that leave you wondering.

It is refreshing to see a nicely crafted action movie that doesn't include Shia LeBeouf, the number "2" in the title, or relies on some shitty 3D to sell movie tickets. Source Code is a damn enjoyable movie and it kept my attention throughout the whole running time. It's pretty smart and provoking as far as most action flicks go, and has likable leads and manages to make Jake Gyllenhaal a convincing action hero for the most part. My only real gripe was the fact that I didn't really love the ending, as I was expecting them to go in a whole different way with it, but it suits the movie just fine. Recommended.

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