Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Review: Source Code

Source Code

Directed by Duncan Jones


Jake Gyllenhaal as Colter Stevens
Michelle Monaghan as Christina Warren
Vera Farmiga as Colleen Goodwin
Jeffrey Wright as Dr. Rutledge
Cas Anvar as Hazmi
Russell Peters as Max Denoff
Michael Arden as Derek Frost
Scott Bakula as Donald Stevens, Colter's father (Voice cameo)

One moment Army helicopter pilot Colter Stevens is on a mission in Afghanistan and the next he is on a train with a young woman facing him from the seat across from his telling him she took his advice.

After asking several questions to help him figure out what is going on, only to get more confused, Stevens sequesters himself in the rest-room of the car to get his bearings only to find a stranger peering out of the mirror (aka Quantum Leap). His identification says that he is Sean Fentress, a school teacher.

When he exits the rest room, he is confronted by the woman in the facing seat, Christina Warren. As he slowly gains info concerning his new identity, the train explodes and Colter
finds himself now inside a tight, dim capsule with an insistent woman’s voice asking him inane yet unsettling questions.

  1. Stevens, it would seem, has been recruited by a mysterious government project called, Beleaguered Castle and Colter himself is in a device called “Source Code” which allows the user to experience the last 8 minutes of someone else’s life. All of this explained to him by Air Force Captain Colleen Goodwin, whom it would seem is Colter’s only connection with the outside world.

From here on out, Stevens relives Fentress’ last eight minutes of life over and over as he tries to identifying who blew up the train even though Goodwin insists that it can not be done, because it is in the past and can not there for be altered.

Source code has a very Quantum Leap feel, or maybe even ground hog day, but being a big budget big screen movie you have very little of the personal human touches that Dean and Scott brought to the project. Source Code, maybe because of it’s eight minute window, is frenetic and often violent, and at times often ill timed preachy and opinionated. The camera angles and movement are often mimicking the movements of the actors head and eyes from their point of view. On a home screen this trick isn’t as noticeable but on the big screen, I bet it was unsettling.

I won’t give away any important ah ha! moments or the ending, but they are not quite what you would imagine.

Now the extras are fairly run of the mill, but at least we have some. For the director track, the director is joined by Jake Gyllenhaal who played Colter Stevens and they do a good job of getting their ideas across. It’s the rest of the extras I have a bit of an issue with. You see the interviews and scientific comments as well as history and classical (and not so classical) volumes are laid out in such a way that you must play the movie with some or all turned on or off. If you are clever enough you can have one or two playing with your first viewing. (I really hate that! I want my first view to be as close to theater as I can get it) and the balance with the second viewing which would say be the director’s comments. This of course would sully one view and have way to much interference on the second. So if you are like me, you have to watch the movie 3 times. First time clean, second time director’s comments and finally the science info, book and movie info and Chicago history. So you can imagine that third viewing becomes a bit tedious (I almost passed on it and I wait for the blu-ray FOR the info!) So I can only give the extras a 7 because they are VERY informative and a great director’s comments, overall it is even more tedious than the Adjustment Bureau .

So score....because it isn’t QUITE the run of the mill ending and the fact that someone had the cajoles not to make a chase me, chase me some more - movie and not pound us over the head with special effects and cgi 8.5. Extras that were difficult to use and read but really informative
7.5 gives the movie blu-ray an overall 16 and a final movie review of 8.

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