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.