April 1, 2011
1 hour 32 minutes
After the success of the indie movie 'Moon,' Duncan Jones has come back with the second movie in his rising directing career, plus also his first Hollywood-Blockbuster-Mainstream movie with Source Code, starring the always talented Jake Gyllenhaal. I've heard many good things about 'Moon' and really want to check it out, but due to the R rating that's a big no no for me. So luckily I snagged passes to a local screening of Source Code and got to experience a Duncan Jones film for the first time. (Along with actually meeting him, since he hosted a Q&A after the screening, but that's not important right now) And I must say that Mr. Jones, who happens to be the son of David FREAKIN' Bowie has made an action-packed, twist turning, and pulse pounding roller coaster (or in this case a train) ride that will not disappoint the audience at all, as well as give them Shyamalan-esque twists as well as give them an Inception-like twist ending.
Afghanistan war pilot Colter Stevens wakes up on a train, talking to a woman who knows him but he has no recollection of who she is, and has no idea how he got there. He soon realizes when looking into the mirror that the is not in his body. All of the sudden the train he's on explodes, killing everyone on the train including Colter. When Colter wakes up again, he finds out that he's in a secret government experiment called the Source Code, which is a computer program that can access within your mind and send to into the last eight minutes of another individual. It turns out that Colter has been assigned to this mission because of a bombing that happened on that train earlier, so the government wants Colter to find the bomber to stop an even greater threat involving blowing up Chicago. But as Colter keeps going back into the Source Code, he starts to grow feelings for the now dead Christina, the woman who is always sitting in front of him, as well as learning more and more about why he was specifically chosen for this mission.
Let me start off by saying that Source Code is a very complex movie. It is a movie that involves the study of the mind, and makes the audience think about what they just saw immediately when the credits begin to roll. It's just as confusing as Inception, yet way more intriguing. Actually, the pacing and story of this movie helped me follow this one much better. You don't have to keep thinking that you're in a "dream within a dream" situation like you did in Inception. And even though this movie is only a surprisingly meager hour and a half, the movie keeps the audience involved with everything going on, which helps make the movie feel longer. The movie may have countless "8 minute" situations, but they feel (and probably do) go longer than they are. I'm not saying that it's a bad thing, it's far from it actually. It gives us more time to get to know all of the characters who are on the doomed train. Plus it gives the audience more thinking time to see if they can figure out who bombed the train.
It's not just the story that's quite good, the character development is also quite good. We get to know the two main leads throughout, and get to feel for them somewhat. Of all of the characters we get to meet and learn about during this movie, and there aren't that many characters, my favorite one was actually Jake Gyllenhaal's character, Colter Stevens. This character, who is in every scene in the movie has a dark past behind him, and a somewhat disturbing outcome. I found these aspects of Colter to be both intriguing and interesting. Michelle Monaghan is always a treat when it comes to screen presence. She helps give Mr. Gyllenhaal some funny humor to go with during the several 8 minute sequences. These two actors combined make good chemistry together that fits well in its sci-fi esque premise. I also enjoyed the mad scientist like role of Jeffery Wright, and the ally/worker role played by the talented Vera Farmiga. This movie has great acting, especially from Jake Gyllenhaal, who is always good in the movies he is. If you like well acted movies, then you might want to put this on your must see list.
Duncan Jones, who directed the critically acclaimed 'Moon' does a superior job creating these strange yet fantastic looking settings, especially the secret/unknown compartment room that Jake Gyllenhaal is in throughout the movie. Duncan Jones could possibly be this century's Steven Spielberg. I don't mean better than "the king of directors," more like he is almost as superior, and will probably have a stellar career coming up for him. However, it wasn't Duncan Jones who completely bring this movie to life. This story actually comes from the mind of the script written by Ben Ripley. Ben Ripley's story is brilliantly written, and has a bunch of good twists in it. Mr. Ripley could've made this a really crappy sci-fi movie, with just another crappy ending. But with the will and mind, this story becomes something more than a sci-fi movie. It becomes an action-packed thrill ride with twists and turns at every moment during the second half. This movie is almost as good as Aaron Sorkin's fantastic script for The Social Network or Christopher Nolan's script for Inception.
So to summarize my review up, Source Code is action-packed, thrilling, fun, and just plain FIRETRUCKIN AWESOME! It has everything for sci-fi fans, action and thriller fans, plus adds elements that any moviegoer could enjoy. Even if you hate the actors in this movie, I can almost guarantee you will have one HELL of a time at the movies. I believe this movie will have the same impact on moviegoers the same way movies like Inception and The Adjustment Bureau did. This movie likes to play with your mind, so I would suggest you let it. If you don't like the kind of movies where you actually have to THINK for once, then you can go see that crappy comedy in theater #5. This movie is sophisticated and sometimes strange, but it was made that way. If you can't accept that, then you're missing out on a great movie.
I actually feel bad for all of the adults who are going to have to go see the new kids movie 'Hop' this weekend. Not only will they have to pay for a movie they don't even want to see, they probably won't even enjoy that movie like how they possibly enjoyed hit kids movies like Despicable Me and Tangled. But I believe that no matter what, that everyone should go see this movie. I swear it will keep you guessing until the final 10 minutes of the movie. You will leave the theater bewildered and thinking "What the hell did I just see?" But that is all part of the fun in this movie. So what movie should be seen this weekend? If it were my power to make a movie #1 at the box office, I would make a mind bending action-thriller #1 rather than a kids comedy about the Easter Bunny, and I think a few people might agree with me.