Source Code (9/10)
by Tony Medley
Run time 93 minutes.
OK for children.
From the Robert Wise-style
opening (obviously inspired by the openings of West Side Story
and The Sound of Music) with gorgeous aerial shots of Chicago,
Source Code presents a refreshing new idea for time warp movies.
Coulter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) is an Air Force pilot who finds
himself in a high tech experiment to find a mad bomber. Coulter is
entombed in a chamber communicating with the outside world, Air Force
officer Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga), electronically. The experiment
captures the last eight minutes of a personís life and allows Coulter to
enter and re-enter into a train speeding towards Chicago and communicate
with its passengers in the eight minutes before it is blown to
smithereens by a bomb and everybody killed. So he keeps going back,
trying to find the bomber, whom Coulterís controllers think is planning
a massive bomb that could annihilate Chicago.
Naturally, his seatmate is a
gorgeous woman, Christina Warren (Michelle Monaghan). This is a movie
after all. Every guy in the audience undoubtedly dreams of finding
themselves seated next to someone like Christina. But Coulter is on a
mission and for awhile her charms elude him.
Gyllenhaal does a phenomenal
job of acting, and so does Monaghan, and thatís important for science
fiction time warp movies because the concept is so preposterous. The
good ones, like Final Countdown (1980) keep the plot moving
because the actors make it so believable. Director Duncan Jones takes a
terrific script by Ben Ripley, an honors graduate of the USC School of
Cinema-Television, and makes both of their virginal forays into major
motion picture-making a high-tension, highly entertaining adventure.
In addition to the three
principals, Jeffrey Wright gives a fine performance as Dr. Rutledge, the
single-minded, cold, physically-handicapped genius who created Source
Code that allows Coulter to time travel.
Equally important to the
acting, directing, and script of a good time warp movie are the
cinematography and music. Don Burgess and Chris Bacon, respectively,
make heavy contributions to the wonderful pace and style of the film.
Although there are a few plot
holes, itís not possible to make a time warp movie without them, time
travel being impossible. But they were so few and so unimportant that
they were easy to ignore.