Sunday, April 10, 2011

Movie Review - Source Code

Pop quiz: Who remembers Quantum Leap? The TV series? About jumping into other people's bodies? It was a good show.

Pop quiz number 2: Who remembers Groundhog Day? Y'know, the one with Bill Murray? Everyone reading this? Good, because if you hadn't seen it yet I would have to say GO RENT IT RIGHT NOW.

Well, imagine what would happen if you took one part Groundhog Day, and one part Quantum Leap, threw in a bomb on a train, and scaled back the reliving down from a day, into only 8 minutes. You would get Source Code.

Source Code is the second film by British director Duncan Jones. His other film is the 2009 film, Moon. I went into Source Code with very high expectations because HIS LAST FILM WAS MOON! Seriously! If you haven't heard of this incredibly low budget but high quality sci-fi film, go look it up. It was one of the best films of 2009, perhaps even THE best film of 2009.

In fact, it was so praised, and did so well (considering it hardly got a release. Seriously, only a few theaters for a month or so, and then DVD.) that they gave Duncan Jones a much much bigger budget for his first widely released movie Source Code!

So when I heard about it? I was psyched. I LOVED Moon, and the idea of a big budget film made by Duncan Jones? I couldn't have been more optimistic. I heard the plot, and the first thing I said was "This idea would be stupid, if I didn't have complete faith in Duncan Jones." I'm not kidding. This guy could have made the Twilight movies awesome if he were directing them.

So as I walked into the theater, I went in with the highest expectations. Was I disappointed? Well, I'm pleased to say that I was not.

The central plot of Source Code centers around Captain Colter Stevens, (played by Jake Gyllenhaal who's only other film I've seen is Prince of Persia which for the record, I liked.) waking up on a train, only to find he's not himself. Literally. He's someone else. Well a woman named Christina (played by Michelle Monaghan) is talking to him on a train, and naturally he is just a bit disoriented. So he gets up, searches the train, and promptly gets blown up.

After getting blown up, he awakens in a small capsule with a woman through a video screen informing him that his mission is to continue reliving the same 8 minutes until he can ID the bomber. He's told that he's in a sort of memory of the past, and that he cannot change anything, no matter how hard he tries, he can only find information on the bomber, before he strikes again.

And so he relives the same 8 minutes. And that's the plot of the film. It's better than it sounds, really.

I was slightly concerned that the idea of reliving the same 8 minutes for an entire 90 minute film could get tedious, but it's excellently done to where each time is interesting enough, because of how he interacts with it, to keep your attention.

Not to mention the fact that both of the leads do very good acting jobs here. Seriously. They have great chemistry with each other, and even though we only have 8 minutes with Christina every time, you feel like you know who she is, without having her pushed in your face by the end of the film. In fact, you feel that way about a lot of the passengers, many of whom aren't even given names.

It's a thriller, and it provides those thrills, while still keeping the characters interesting. Like any good thriller, it keeps you guessing about who the bomber is. Is it this guy? Is it this next guy? Was it guy one all along?! You'll keep guessing until it's revealed at the end.

Unfortunately there is a small problem. You see, once we finally do get explanations... They're based on some really bad science. The entire third act is plagued with plot holes, and the ending, while good, makes very little sense.

But if you're able to push aside some quirky plot holes in the third act, and just accept that this is what happened, it's an excellent film, and definitely worth seeing. I went in with high expectations, and Duncan Jones did not disappoint.

In fact, Duncan Jones film career is already tremendously better than his father's film career after only two films! Who was his father you ask?

I'm completely not kidding. Duncan Jones is the son of David Bowie. Is this relevant to Source Code? Not at all! Is it amusing? Heck yes!

Anyways, as I was saying, Source Code is a very good film. It's not quite as good as Moon, mainly because of the plot holes in the 3rd act, but it's still a great sci-fi action thriller, and it's definitely worth seeing.

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