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Source Code

2011-06-15 17:35
Source Code
What it's about:

A soldier is tasked with finding the bomber of a train in order to prevent a worse attack. He’s placed in the body of one of the train-bombing’s victims and is forced to repeatedly relive the eight minutes leading up to the explosion. But the completion of the mission is complicated by Colter Stevens’ need for answers. He doesn’t know where he is, or why he’s no longer at his base in Afghanistan. And just how real is each eight minute train ride?

What we thought:

I’ll put it simply: Source Code is 2011’s Inception. There’s nothing more thought-provoking and thrilling than a movie that challenges our familiar parameters. It’s delightfully confusing - not in that it doesn’t make sense, but in that you never know what’s going to happen next.

A rattled Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) wakes up suddenly on a passenger train. Despite the warm familiarity of his pretty companion, Stevens’ nervous and panicked reaction immediately unsettles you. It’s not far into his frantic confusion that the train violently explodes, killing everyone on board. A startled Stevens then wakes up in some sort of military training pod, where his commander, Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) calmly tries to refresh his memory and press him for answers, but gives him no detail about where he is, and why he has no memory of the mission. He’s repeatedly sent back to the train, in the body of one of the passengers, to find the bomber and save Chicago from a massive explosion. But each time he’s sent back, his need for an explanation drives him to find out how he got there. His military skills help him discover how he went from Afghanistan to a virtual Chicago in a day, but also reveal the true power and influence of  the government programme called Source Code.

After the first introduction to The Train Scene (aptly capitalised by yours truly, because it makes up the bulk of the movie), you’re drawn right into Stevens’ confusion. It’s something that’s expertly done to make the movie so enthralling - you share Stevens’ experience. He knows as little as you do, and you realise each twist at the exact moment he does. It’s done with impressive skill and good acting.

There are points where you feel restless out of sheer impatience - there’s nothing predictable about the storyline, and you’ll be desperate to know if he will find the bomber, and what will happen if he does. A film like this that demands your undivided attention always tires you out a little - the same way Inception might have mentally exhausted you. It takes nothing from the suspense or the storyline, however. And hey, the tired brain syndrome could just be me. I am blonde after all.

Gyllenhaal delivers an exceptional performance. I love him more every year - he’s churning out  awesome thrillers and suspense flicks. And he’s getting to that point where you can almost rely on his presence in a movie as a gauge of its awesomery, which is a major achievement. Monaghan is also steadily climbing the starlet ladder, though her performance in Source Code is basic as the pretty girl interest. Ripley and Jones (writer and director) use her as more of a catalyst character than anything else. Farmiga is stunning as always - her character brings the necessary sturdiness and empathy needed to appease Stevens’ panic.

All the right elements are there: the character balances - the good soldier and the ruthless, ambitious scientist-soldier; a confused, hot guy; a pretty, charming girl. It has a good backbone, and well thought out base; there’s nothing worse than an awesome storyline hanging by the brittle threads of a hasty core-plot. It’s plotted out well, and wont leave an audience frustrated and confused, in the way many felt Inception did. And the best part? Just when you think Ripley and Jones had mind-warped you to the brink, they do it again. A brilliant ending, that leaves just the right amount of mystery and suspense. The spinning top in the final scene of Inception, is here referenced in the form of a silvery domed mirror.

Brilliant suspense, flawless acting - this movie’s going to be a major talking point. You don’t really want to be ‘that guy’ who doesn’t know what Black Castle is, do you?

* You can hear Kim every weekday from 9am - 12pm on 5FM for more candid opinions and hilarity. For extra sass and some profanity, follow her on Twitter: @KimSchulze

So far, the suspense movie of the year.
Read more on:    jake gyllenhaal  |  review  |  movies

Lynette Tajoodeen 2011/06/20 9:37 AM
ms 2011/08/27 8:27 PM
dont waste your time or money - 0 stars
Joe Botha 2011/09/22 1:14 AM
  • Rating:
Don't you mean "Beleaguered Castle"? ;-) But I agree, great film, much underrated.
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