Duncan Jones’ Source Code hits theaters today, and for sci-fi fans such as myself, it serves as a good indicator of whether or not Jones can continue displaying the filmmaking magic he brought to the ultra-low-budget Moon. Whereas the latter was made on a shoestring budget with only a handful of actors, Source Code has a whole cast of talented actors and a fairly decent budget to play around with. Jake Gyllenhaal playing Colter Stevens, a U.S. soldier who must repeatedly re-live the last 8 minutes of a civilian’s life in order to track down a bomber. Captain Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) hands down directives through a computer screen, while a wildly over-the-top Jeffrey Wright plays Dr. Rutledge, the creator of the program that makes these time-jumping antics possible. Picture Groundhog Day crossed with Deja Vu and you’ll have a pretty good idea how this film unfolds.
What did you guys think of the film? Was Gyllenhaal convincing as the troubled Colter Stevens? Was Jones able to bring a sensibility that transcended the material? Leave your thoughts in the comments. Assume that spoilers lie after the jump.
I rather enjoyed Source Code and found it to be a refreshing take on the “guy-relives-a-certain-period-of-time” genre. Jones has taken Ben Ripley’s script and fashioned it into a gripping whodunit. It doesn’t have the stunning audacity of a film like Moon, but it’s a solid B-movie thriller and actually has a good amount of laughs for a film of this type (South Asian comedian Russell Peters inexplicably shows up, and even gets to perform a monologue!).
Jones is also able to embed a couple of shocking reveals into the film. I was particularly in love with his focus on the technological interface that Rutledge and Goodwin used to interact with Stevens, and how brutally simplistic Stevens’ own capacities to communicate ended up being. It’s evidence of a high degree of intelligence lurking behind the assembling of this film, which also manages (Jones-style) to inject a bit of reflection on the ethics of using humans for the betterment of humanity.
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