Army Captain Colter Stevens finds himself working on a special program where his consciousness can be inserted into another human being. The only catch is can only be there for 8 minutes at any given time. That morning, a bomb exploded on a commuter train just outside Chicago. He occupies the body of teacher going to work on that train and is confused as to what he is doing or why he is there as his last memory is of flying his helicopter on a combat mission in Afghanistan. Those in charge of the program explain to him that there is a bomb on the train, and that he must locate it. More importantly, he must identify the bomber as another bombing is expected later that day. He is also told however that he cannot change the past and can only gather information. As he develops a liking for his traveling companion Christina, he sets out to test that theory.Written by
Because the owners of the actual commuter station they planned to film in changed their terms at the last minute, a fake station had to be built in a car park. That meant the white van couldn't be prepared in time. The contents had to be simulated using CGI. See more »
Multiple characters use Army terms instead of more appropriate Air Force terms in regards to Nellis AFB. Specifically, the Air Force "base" is referred to as a "post" (an Army term) and the Security Forces personnel are referred to as "MPs" (an Army abbreviation for "Military Police.") See more »
Well made and fast paced, but a little been there done that and a little too improbable
Source Code (2011)
It's easy to say this could have been a great movie, because it has some great elements, but it's also easy to notice how derivative the basic ideas are, too. And so this is a decent thriller with lots of issues left hanging. I think some people will totally love it, especially if they haven't seen, or maybe if they have, the inspirations for it.
That is, the structure of the film is a series of variations on a single set of events, returned to over and over with twists and alternatives explored, many of them imaginative. A very differently styled predecessor is "Run Lola Run" but I think "Source Code" is a more direct echo of recent American films like "Momento" or "Vantage Point." It's a little like "Inception" meets "Groundhog Day," actually, and that's not all bad.
The main character who is reliving (or seeming to) the main event, the blowing up of a Chicago commuter train, is a war veteran played by Jake Gyllenhaal. He's good, very good, if not astonishing (you might consider Bruce Willis in "Twelve Monkeys" for a definition close to astonishing, believe it or not). The talking head (mostly seen on a video screen) that helps him through his various incarnations is Vera Farmiga, always a trustworthy presence on screen. Everyone else, from the terrific scientist in the background (Jeffrey Wright) to the bland but serviceable girl and would be girlfriend (Michelle Monaghan) are support to the main pair, or even just to Gyllenhaal, who carries the show.
The rest of the movie is eye popping effects, high tension whodunnit terrorism, and interior soul searching in a sci-fi kind of superficial way. It's fine, but it's been done better before. And there are some logic bending requirements that you can go along with most of the time, but reluctantly. By the last few minutes, when there is one ridiculous last twist, it's just a matter of saying, loudly, "Whatever."
This is almost the definition of a summer blockbuster--well made, fast, undemanding, interesting, fleeting. And it's a month early, so maybe there are more decent things to come.
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