Sunday, April 3, 2011
[Insert Groundhog Day Reference Here]: A Review of Source Code
It's impossible to talk about the plot of Source Code without giving away information that would be better left not knowing going into the theater. Similar to last year's best film Inception, the joy is in the journey of discovery. I also avoided the movie's trailers and went in solely on the cred of Duncan's first film. So go ahead and read on if you don't care or have seen the film. If not, so long, and I'll see you in another life, brother.
A man, played in typical charming and likable fashion by usually poor-choice-of-movie-picker Jake Gyllenhaal, wakes up on a train. He doesn't know how he got on this particular train, or even how he is in America. You see, his name is Colter Stevens, and he is an Army Helicopter pilot in Afghanistan. He's talking to a woman that he's never met (played by Michelle Monaghan, who doesn't do too much more than seem like an honest and likable young woman) but seems to know him. Colter feels sick and goes to the bathroom, only to discover the face in the mirror is not his, but another random man. The viewer, like Colter, becomes confused and disoriented--which is where the fun starts in this whole thing. After 8 minutes the train blows up. In typical sci-fi fashion, a flood of pictures, sounds, and speed-of-light images quickly stream across the screen. Colter then wakes up in some sort of pod that is clearly malfunctioning, speaking into a video monitor to some sort of army scientist.
Eventually, once we learn where Colter actually is during these 8-minute trips, a more human touch enters the film. Is it possible that Colter can alter the fate of the train's passengers, even though they are already dead? Can Colter save the girl who he has fallen in love with? If he stops the explosion, do these people actually live forever in an alternate reality? And if so, where does Colter fit into all of this, since he essentially took over another man's body over and over for the final 8 minutes? It's better not to think about the logistics of all of the quantum mechanics and paradoxes and to just focus on the ever-growing danger of possibly not being able to save people who you have grown to love. (A-)