Director: Duncan Jones
Producer: Mark Gordon
Genre: Action, Thriller
Distributor: Summit Entertainment
Release Date: April 1, 2011
Runtime: 93 Minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright, and Michael Arden
Synopsis (Product Description):
When decorated soldier Captain Colter Stevens wakes up in the body of an unknown man, he discovers he’s part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train. In an assignment unlike any he’s ever known, he learns he’s part of a government experiment called the “Source Code,” a program that enables him to cross over into another man’s identity in the last 8 minutes of his life. With a second, much larger target threatening to kill millions in downtown Chicago, Colter re-lives the incident over and over again, gathering clues each time, until he can solve the mystery of who is behind the bombs and prevent the next attack.
Source Code came out of nowhere this April to temporarily snag the sci-fi spotlight from soon to be released blockbusters like Thor, Captain America and Green Lantern. Jake Gyllenhaal plays Capt. Colter Stevens who has been tasked with traveling back in time to ascertain the cause of an explosion of a commuter train headed for Chicago. Unfortunately, Capt. Stevens only has a mere eight minutes each time he makes the time jump due to the severe constraints of time travel. Failure means game over in a very explosive way, but Capt. Stevens has a lot of do overs, that is unless the train explosion is only the first of several attacks.
Source Code’s influences are Quantum Leap, 24 and Groundhog’s Day. It borrows some of the best elements of those series and movie and adds its own spin to great effect. Thankfully the screen writers did a wonderful job of finessing the details of time travel by more or less NOT delving into extraneous details of how it works. Let’s just say it has something to do with quantum mechanics and parabolic calculus. Basically you’d need a PhD or two to understand it, so like Capt. Stevens you just need to accept it and stay on mission. While this is a bit of cop out consider that most films that center around time travel usually end up with unresolved, maddening paradoxes — be it the ridiculous Timecop or the mostly sublime Terminator series. Source Code avoids this problem by dispensing with a drawn out explanation of what are essentially arbitrary rules to tell a great story.
Source Code is engaging from beginning to end. It tells two parallel stories of Capt. Stevens’ adventure in the past and his similarly complicated present. You’ll need to keep your thinking cap on tight as the implications of Capt. Stevens attempts to solve the mystery of the exploding train become more apparent. It’s a rare movie that can delve into the nature of realty, time and space while being one of the best action-thrillers of 2011.
FTC Advisory: We purchased our own tickets.
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