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September 27, 2011 / Prof Cupcake.

source code

Source code is a heady thriller that asks the question, “what if our actions and choices led to alternative universes?” I sort of hope there is only this one reality, because if there are other realities where other me are maybe, just maybe in a long term and loving relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal, I would be so mad in this reality for not being in the romantic me and Jake reality, that the ensuing rage and torrent of swears that would pour from my lips would be enough to rip the walls of all realities asunder and slam us all into some un-coagulating realty soup. So for all of you, I hope nay I pray that there is just this one reality, and this film Source Code is just a film not a possibility. Source Code is about Colter Stevens (Mr. Jake) who with the help of a new branch of the US anti-terrorism team, works to discover the identity of a person who has planted and detonated a bomb on a Chicago bound commuter train. Thanks to some new (and as of yet untested?) tech, Colter with the help of his guide Colleen (Vera Farmiga) can relive the last eight minutes of a man who was on that train’s life and try to uncover who the killer is. Thing however become complicated as Colter both begins to fall for the entirely desirable Christina (Michelle Monaghan) while struggling to come to terms with who he is when not controlling the body of the late Sean. As films go, Source Code is a breath of fresh air into the recently stagnated world of action adventure / thriller movies. Thanks to its high concept and not un-necessarily overly explained premise the film moves along at a clipped pace which keeps the audience enthralled from start to finish. Granted upon reflection it seems a bit more like a children’s fairground ride then a roller coaster of emotional upheaval, but the good performances and actual chemistry between Jake Gyllenhaal and Michelle Monaghan are enough to sustain the temporal – crossed lovers thing they got going on. Ducan Jones Directs the film with finesse. Working against him are the confined set, the lack of time for character development, the need for multiple slow reveals, ect.. but he manages to keep all balls in the air and keeps the film moving along with a good amount of rising action and no large lulls. He steers clear of overly contrite ‘time loop’ images and manages to coax from Mr. Gyllenhaal a great performance of a man trying to save one reality while wrestling with his own crumbling sense of self. It’s a very good B list job and yet one can not help but feel if the film was allowed to run longer then its absurdly short 1 hour and twenty six minutes, Mr. Jones could have done more with the movie. Personally I was hoping for more exploration into Colter Stevens, really dragging out the period in which he struggles to understand what is going on. The visual and emotional parallels, for a man trapped in a box and trapped in a train, constantly reliving a deadly explosion, the very thing, which ‘killed’ his actual self, seem ripe for cinematic exploration. Issues of claustrophobia for instance are touched on in the film, but could have been more deeply explored to both increase tension as well as explore Colter Steven’s psyche. In the end Source code is an entirely worth while film. Bonus points go to Ben Ripley for a great script and Michelle Monaghan for making the entire romantic sub plot of this film believable.

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