I do love a good sci-fi thriller and I think we’ve found an early year goodie in Source Code.
Source Code is a dark, sci-fi cousin of Groundhog Day. It manages to thrill, make the mind wonder and give us a sense that humanity will deliver us a brighter future. That’s a pretty tall order to deliver on, but Jake Gyllenhaal and Vera Farmiga are able to carry the load.
Colter Stevens (Gyllenhaal) wakes to discover he’s part of a government experiment that allows a person to take over another man’s identity for the last eight minutes of their life. The mission is to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train before they hit a much larger target. Colleen Goodman (Farmiga) is Steven’s contact. In a hidden military lab, she communicates with him through an elaborate Skype setup.
To question the unbelievable logic and fantastic science behind the movie is to look beyond the point. The point of this movie is a man’s struggle to right a wrong. The enjoyment of this movie is to see the story unravel.
One reason this all works is because there are dark themes, which seem to match Gyllenhaal’s style well. All of the people on the train will die. He has to put that aside and find clues to stop the next tragedy. Steven’s also has to cope with his own reality amid the confusion of why he’s a soldier, turned futuristic data-cop.
Because Michelle Monaghan wasn’t in every single minute of this movie, I feel like she may have been underutilized. She plays the girl on the train that Stevens is riding with. It’s hard not to gravitate towards her beauty and acting skills. I’ll watch her in anything.
In the movies, power must corrupt. What seems to be a brilliant tool for fighting crime also has to come with a human cost. I’ll stop there without laying out any spoilers.
I can say that it’s rare to see a modern sci-fi film that’s got a lot of good ingredients mixed in. This film is worth the while.