Source Code (6/10)


Source Code (2011)

Director: Duncan Jones

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright

My Rating: 6/10.

In Short: Flawed but Fun

With Moon back in 2009, director Duncan Jones had created a suspenseful, twist-filled thriller that didn’t disappoint. His recent follow-up, Source Code, is not as impressive, but is nevertheless a satisfying action movie. But that, I fear, is all it is.

Heading the film is Jake Gyllenhaal and Michelle Monaghan, two talented actors at the top of their game. They perform well together, and have decent chemistry, but at times it seems strained. Gyllenhaal’s character is supposed to slowly fall in love with Monaghan, but his affection for her seems a little rushed at times.

He is Captain Colter Stevens, who wakes up inexplicably on a train to discover he is someone else. He looks in the mirror and sees a different face. People call him a different name: Sean Fentress. And he is sitting with a woman he has never met before, Christina Warren (Monaghan). He frantically tries to make sense of the people and area around him when suddenly there is an explosion and the train is engulfed in flames. Then Stevens wakes up in a large pod of some sort, as a woman he knows named Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) explains his mission and why he was on the train, and why he will have to continue to go back there for the same eight minute period until his mission is complete.

Put simply, Source Code is what Groundhog Day would be if it were an action movie and Bill Murray was fifteen years younger. I had trouble getting over the fact that that comparison was essentially the film I was watching, and nothing else. A thinly veiled rip off of a great 90s movie, this time with CGI, bombs and a Chicago train. What’s so great about that?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very fun movie, and if you’re looking for a decent thrill-ride that’s not as awful as the Michael Bay films that colour the box office, this is a fine film to choose. I did not go into it expecting a serious, dark film, and it wasn’t as disappointing as I’d expected. But nor was it as impressive.

The first half of the film was actually very good. It grabbed my attention straight away, and kept me in its grasp. But then things started to fall apart amongst a series of badly timed cliches, and a pitiful ending. The film does have some decent twists, but twists alone are not enough to carry a movie to success.

Director Duncan Jones has talent. He proved that with Moon. But this is an action movie we didn’t need. It’s not bad; the last act could’ve used some rewriting, but generally it’s better than some of the other films that are grabbing the people’s attention at the moment, and if you’re looking for a fun time and little else, you could do a lot worse.


Posted on September 16, 2011, in Movie Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. I think Duncan was brought on to Source Code unlike with Moon which he started himself. And considering your usual taste in movies i’m surprised you even gave this a chance

    • I’ll admit, I prefer more obscure indie movies or foreign films, but in order to gain an audience I have to give mainstream movies a chance too.

      • I generally watch mix of mainstream, indie, and obscure movies myself. The only genre i largely avoid are hollywood rom-coms, although i saw one that i actually liked, but most of the rom-coms i’ve enjoyed have been foreign ones. I also haven’t really watched any bollywood movies.

        But fort the most part i just watch what seems interesting to me and/or gets good buzz

  2. It’s alright although I couldn’t help but feel that it was mostly forgettable. The movie seems to end at the 1 hour mark and then there is that whole development that seems extraneous and only there to push the run-time to the require 90 minutes.

  3. I must be the only one who like, loves this film, despite it’s extremely high Rotten Tomatoes rating. I thought it was clever and sharp, just not as good as Inception, or Moon, for that matter.

  4. I thought it could have been a lot better if it ended 10 minutes previous. I do like a dark ending

    Nice write up, I am sure you tweeted a 7/10 just after you saw it….

  5. Forgettable – sure, but very entertaining. Sometimes that’s all you ask from a movie. While it would have been more elegant to cut the end earlier, I thought it worked ok as it was now. I just send a prayer they won’t make a sequel, but let it end here.

  6. I enjoyed Source Code, more than most from what I can guess. The ending didn’t bother me, but I know that’s the big part of the issues for many viewers. I agree that it’s a step back from Moon, but like others have stated, Jones was not the original director and joined the project fairly late in the game. Either way, I feel like this is one of the better mainstream sci-fi movies that I’ve seen in a while.

    • I don’t really blame Jones for the film, but I think that his potential was a little wasted with this somewhat tiresome (but still fun) action flick.

  7. Hi, Tyler and company:

    Nice critique and photos!

    ‘Source Code’ looks and feels like a larger budgeted, yet trimmed down, story-wise version of ‘Deja Vu’.

    One of Denzel Washington’s least good attempts at not well thought out Sci-Fi.

    Not much of a Jake Gyllenhaal fan to start with, I’ll probably wait on ‘Source Code’.

  8. I think you were really kind to the movie. I hated it. My review is on my site where gave it 1/5 stars. I thought it lacked any depth and it felt disjointed. Moon on the other hand was brilliant.

    • Reflecting back I realise I could lower my score a few points but I won’t. This isn’t a movie I hate, but I’ll never love it either. I’m not exactly happy I watched it, and the ending made me feel deflated and disappointed. However, I was riveted for the first 45 minutes, so I will acknowledge they are the reason for my slightly favorable review.

  9. Well it certainly wasn’t a JJ Abrams production.

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