DIR: Duncan Jones • WRI: Ben Ripley • PRO: Mark Gordon, Philippe Rousselet, Jordan Wynn • DOP: Don Burgess • ED: Paul Hirsch • DES: Barry Chusid • Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga
It ain’t going to be film of the year but it is definitely worth a look. There are some narrative flaws but Duncan Jones’ sci-fi thriller is very much engaging and explores some very interesting concepts, for example the manner in which it addresses some major issues of humanity, free will and identity. These issues are explored utilizing the central character, a soldier named Colter Stevens who is played by Jake Gyllenhaal. We learn that he has been thrust into an operation that he was forced into. The chemistry between Stevens and Christina played nicely by Michelle Monaghan made for some believable romantic moments and provided a way for us to learn more about Stevens aside from the complex, intense and crazy situation he has been planted in.
What irritated me slightly about the film is that it seemed in some ways just like a real star vehicle for Jake Gyllenhaal, however his performance is impressive and he is extremely likeable from the first scene until the complex ending, which I will not elaborate on. He wakes up in the body of another man, who seems to be just a regular guy. He is informed that he is part of a mission to source the culprit of a bomb attack on a Chicago train by becoming a passenger on that train for the last eight minutes before it blows up and to try and find the bomber so that further attacks can be prevented. He looks like himself to us but when he looks at his reflection he sees that he is in fact in another man’s body and is sitting opposite a young woman who is blissfully unaware that he is anything but this other man.
One of the main things I enjoyed about the film was the witty dialogue. The encounters that Stevens (Gyllenhaal) has with passengers made for some light-hearted humourous moments, which were badly needed given the intensity and confusion of the other part of the film, as Stevens tries to complete the mission through a simulation program called the ‘source code’ that allows him to jump in and out of a man’s body for the last eight minutes of a train journey before a bomb goes off while simultaneously trying to process how exactly any of it is possible.
One of the negatives of the film was the portrayal of Dr. Rutledge, the man who conceived of the ‘source code’ by Jeffrey Wright. He was far too mad scientist and the mystery around him and the details of his operation diluted the potential of the film as a whole as it was poor plot development.
Worth watching, perhaps not if you are very tired or hungover as you will just have no idea what is going on… A treat for Jake Gyllenhaal fans though for certain!
Source Code is availabe on DVD on 18th August 2011