Friday, July 29, 2011

Source Code - 4.5/5

Duncan Jones is quickly rising to be one of my favorite directors. Proving that "Moon" wasn't a fluke of circumstance, the son of David Bowie returns with another kick in the teeth science fiction film that should have all the diehards rejoicing. It's intense enough to keep one glued to the TV screen and smart enough to make one think about things a little harder than before. The perfect combination for a science fiction film and a must see for any self respecting sci-fi fan.

Colter Stevens (Gyllenhaal) is not the man he used to be. Literally. This Airforce captain wakes up to find that he is in the body of a young teacher riding a train into Chicago. As it would happen, he is on a mission. The train he is on was bombed earlier that day and all the passengers died. It is up to him to discover who planted the bomb before the train explodes in 8 minutes. Tick tock. Piece it together and he won't have to relive the tragedy...over...and over...and over...

Taking the concept of 'time travel' (although here it's not quite time travel...but I won't even attempt to explain the 'science fiction' concept) and throwing it into a thriller isn't hardly new. In fact, I think "Source Code" owes quite a lot to films like "12 Monkeys", but the film does it with such finesse and earnest that it hardly matters if the concept makes sense beyond the circumstance. This is truly what makes "Source Code" work so damn well. Duncan Jones ably builds the atmosphere of desperation with lightning pacing (we are literally thrown straight into the story) and an eye to capture the nuances of this intelligent and intense script. Thought his subtlety was to die for in "Moon"? His ability to blend that with the thriller/investigation aspect is remarkable here too.

Duncan Jones handles the rather ridiculous concept with flair and ease, but his own craftsman ship is only heightened by a superior performance from Gyllenhaal. To be able to make that character so believable and heartfelt in his situation takes quite a bit of talent and Gyllenhaal handles it perfectly. The supporting cast certainly help (with particular nods to Farmiga as his coach/voice of reason who gives notable chemistry with the lead), but he is the one that carries this film and gives it the humanity it needed to really work its magic.

Although not quite as ballsy as "Moon" and not quite as user friendly as "The Adjustment Bureau", "Source Code" builds a fantastic tale that is expertly paced, acted, and directed that reestablishes why science fiction can be the best genre out there for films. It entertains and it sticks with the viewer long after the credits roll.  A one-two punch that is certain to please those of discerning taste.

Written By Matt Reifschneider

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