U.S. Army captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) wakes up on a train. He doesn’t know how he got there. He doesn’t know who the girl in front of him is and why she’s calling him Sean. He’s disorienteted. He says he’s not Sean. He’s a U.S. Army captain whose last mission was in Afghanistan… and soon enough, the train blows up and Colter Stevens wakes up in what looks like a capsule, being talked to by a woman named Goodwin (Vera Farmiga).
Colter Stevens is told he’s inside the “Source Code”, a program that takes him back to Sean Fentress’ last eight minutes of life, before he died on the train heading to Chicago that morning. He’s supposed to find the bomber because a second attack is planned, one that would take the lives of millions of people. And so Stevens is taken back to the train many times, each time discovering that the sequence of events isn’t necessarily the same as before and thinking that maybe he could change the events altogether.
The intricacies of “Source Code” are not the main mystery about this movie, nor is the bomber. It’s Colter Stevens himself and having figured it out way early in the movie did not forbid me from thoroughly enjoying this.
Jake Gyllenhaal is the movie’s greatest asset. He fuses together the movie’s action side with a sensible side that is, with most action movies, hard to come by. I’ve been very impressed lately with many of his movies, notably Love and Other Drugs, and I thought he doesn’t let down here.
Vera Farmiga is great as usual also, even though her role is sort of limited as the behind-the-screen Goodwin who starts to communicate with Colter Stevens on a deeper level than just a military personnel directing a mission. Her role in this is more toned down than Up In The Air but it’s still great.
And Michelle Monaghan, in portraying Christina, the girl on the train, and despite the limited number of lines she was given (I mean, she does repeat the same sentence over and over again), I thought she was great as well, making you believe that Stevens could actually fall in love with her in the eight minutes they have together.
“Source Code” is not your regular sci-fi action movie. I would categorize it more as a thriller because it’s deeply more engaging than any other action movie I have watched lately. Not only do you get to connect with the characters but you really hope that, somehow, they get to be saved.
Moreover, Source Code is not void of emotions. While most of these emotions are tucked away in the end, you can’t help but be hit with them when they appear on screen. I will not spoil the center theme upon which they revolve but you will definitely feel them when you watch this.
Overall, Source Code is a thought provoking and engaging thriller. Directing in it is great as well by newcomer Duncan Jones, who doesn’t seem affected by the much dreaded sophomore slump. Are the memories that are being relived read-only data or can they be altered? Some people will not appreciate the confusion that this movie poses at certain times, especially since continuity is an issue that is very difficult to follow in movies like this (a la Inception), but overall, while watching it, Source Code will make you submerge in it. After you get out, however, and start thinking about the movie, you realize there are some plot-holes they left unanswered. Was it intentional? Perhaps so. But this is definitely one of the better movies of 2011 so far, one that I think every movie enthusiast should consider watching.