Source Code Directed by: Duncan Jones Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright Running Time: 1 hr 33 mins Rating: PG-13 Release Date: April 1, 2011
PLOT: A soldier (Gyllenhaal) wakes up to find himself in the body of an unknown man. His mission is to find a bomber on a Chicago commuter train.
WHO'S IT FOR? It really feels like a FOX TV thriller. Maybe like "Fringe," although I have to admit, I've never seen an episode. So, I guess it feels like what I think the vibe of "Fringe" is, if that makes sense.
EXPECTATIONS: The film was only 1.5 hours long. With Gyllenhaal and Monaghan, and the concept of time repeating itself, sure sign me up. Especially with Director Jones in charge.
ACTORS: Jake Gyllenhaal as Colter Stevens: I believe him a a soldier and he's definitely at this best when confused in this role. Colter doesn't know who he is, what his mission is, or even what is "real." What I could have used was a little more crazy out of him. Whenever he was solving the whodunit, I wasn't hooked, I kept wanting more. Score: 7
Michelle Monaghan as Christina: You can believe that she'd be easy to fall for. It does seem that it's a little too easy for Colter though, right? Yes, they are sitting across from each other, but very quickly Colter seems to make her a priority over his mission (once he learns what his mission is). Thankfully, Colter doesn't rope Christina into being his sidekick. That would have been too much. Monoghan is serviceable and that's really the best you can hope for in this slightly awkward role where we keep remeeting her. Score: 7
Vera Farmiga as Carol Goodwin: Carol is guiding Colter through this mixed up crazy thing called the source code. Talking into a microphone doesn't lend itself to many "moments" and there isn't anything truly dynamic about this role. Score: 5
Jeffrey Wright as Dr. Rutledge: He's a caricature. It's almost like he's an homage to the evil scientist like Dr. Frankenstein. It doesn't work here. He's cold, removed. So it's not cool when he explains the science behind the source code. You should see and feel his joy for the thing he has invented. That doesn't mean he has to care for others, just the product. Score: 4
TALKING: When you repeat as much as this movie does, it's bound to feel like you've been there and done that, but luckily "it's the same train, but different." That line and that concept really help the dialogue here and attempt to keep this fresh. The emotion of the film didn't work for me though. Normally, a son talking to his father one last time or one more time would leave me in tears. Not even close here. Score: 7
SIGHTS: Very crisp. I'm a sucker for a couple places in America and Chicago is definitely near the top. The city looks great, the locations look great. Heck, it's' even a beautiful day which doesn't hurt. The explosions (yes, there are more than one) look as realistic as possible. Also, yes Dunkin' Donuts is everyone in Chicago, even the trains. So, while this is a sponsor, it's also very accurate. One particular moment needs to be talked about. Colter jumps off the moving train at one point, does a roll, and comes to a stop. While it's still a little obvious that it's special effects in the middle of that action sequence, I still think it's the best I have seen that type of thing done. Job well done. Score: 8
SOUNDS: This could be the big problem here for me. During the opening credits I wrote down "Hitchcock." That's exactly where the musical score seems to be coming from, a Hitchcock movie. At first, I thought this would add to the thrills and chills, but ultimately it distracts. It creates too much of a "movie moment" instead of allowing any natural emotion into the film, and that's what I needed more of. I needed to feel. Score: 6
BEST SCENE: When Colter is walking around thinking this is all a simulation it gives the film a great freedom. Again, Gyllenhaal is at his best with this character when he doesn't know how this mission is supposed to work.
ENDING: Um, TV show. Right? Seriously. The ending is actually a nice fade instead of a big climax.
QUESTIONS: Light bulb, short term memory, I got it. While the ending leaves your head scratching for a little bit, the movie makes sense up until that point.
REWATCHABILITY: With a movie like this, that repeats a character's path over and over again, it already feels like you've seen it two times.
I never felt it. Hope for the mission at hand, compassion for a soldier out of his element, falling for a girl, solving a mystery ... I never felt it. With that said, I did love the look of this movie and the action is very easy and enjoyable to sit through. The leads, Gyllenhaal and Monaghan did their job well, and I will happily watch anything director Duncan Jones puts out. Maybe this is a little bit my fault. After Jones' Moon, I was head-over-heels hooked. Plus, with Source Code I immediately figured out who the "bad guy" was, and I turned out to be right. So, while I was watching a movie that repeats eight minutes over and over again, I was waiting for Colter to finally catch up to what I already noticed. You know what, that's not my fault. That's on the film. Nothing ever dropped my jaw. I needed it to drop.
The Adjustment Bureau recently gave us desperate love between Damon and Blunt's characters. I could have used a little of that with Gyllenhaal and Monaghan. Jones is working on a similar idea that he had with Moon and that's the isolation of his main character. Colter is removed, physically and emotionally, but desperately wants to connect. Jones makes that work with the help of the amazing Sam Rockwell. Jones and Gyllenhaal don't quite rise to that level. Source Code didn't totally work. It feels like something I would see on the small screen. In fact, if this was the premiere episode, I would be interested and ready for episode two.
FINAL SCORE: 7/10