Saturday, April 2, 2011
Source Code review
Before I start off this review, let me make this clear: in no way do I view Source Code as a model of originality. There have been plenty of movies like Source Code in the past, in fact the premise shares a lot of similarities to Quantum Leap (although when you see the movie, that's not entirely the case). So why should you see this movie and why is it good?
Because Source Code happens to be a very well-made Sci-Fi Thriller with more emphasis on Thriller. The movie gives off a very Hitchcockian vibe. The premise of the film is very simple: Captain Colter Stevens is being used in a "Source Code" experiment where he is sent back in time for 8 minutes as a train passenger in order to figure out who was responsible for bombing the train. There are no crazy twists just some good old fashion suspense. Throughout the film you get to know Colter Stevens and by the end, you care about him. This is a film that cares about its characters. Director Duncan Jones has succeeded in finding the human element to what could have been a very standard Sci-Fi film. Fact of the matter is that Source Code is simply a very entertaining thriller featuring a strong cast and helmed by a great up-and-coming director.
Like with his first film, Moon, Duncan Jones manages to succeed in selling you the science fiction universe that the movie decides to explore and at the same time, it's very character-driven. Or, it's as much character-driven as it is plot driven. When he does this, it raises the stakes, heightens the suspense, and it makes the movie that much better. And again, Moon wasn't exactly a highly original film, but it was still a great film. Source Code is the same way even if it may be a notch below Moon.
The reason for that may be its somewhat weak script. While Duncan Jones does the best he can with the material he's working with, the script is very standard and only touches upon things that go beyond its premise. But a movie like this shows you what can happen when a very good director works with an average script: the result is still way above par.
Overall though, Source Code is a winner. It doesn't break any new ground, but it's one of the better time travel films out there and Jake Gyllenhaal shows that he can carry a film by himself when given the right material. The rest of the solid cast includes Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, and Jeffrey Wright. This is a fun film, a smart film with a romantic subplot that ISN'T too sentimental or sappy. It gets all those elements 100% right. It's a film that would normally be a winner with audiences, but judging the box office intake so far, it looks like audiences are choosing to see a film where a rabbit poops jelly beans.