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Source Code

April 26, 2011

It used to be when you took a girl out to the movies, you still had money to buy her dinner and possibly discuss what you saw after the movie was finished. Unfortunately, with the rising price of, uh, everything, a trip to the movies can break the bank. $10.50 per ticket? Popcorn for $7? Sour Patch Watermelon $300? It’s kind of getting insane. Sorry, had to insert my inner Jew into that. Obviously my girlfriend and I went to see Source Code this weekend. But besides my inner George Costanza, the rest of me was actually extremely glad I spent $5,000 to see this flick. Watch the trailer and it makes this movie look like a combination of three previously made movies. The first and most obvious is Deja Vu with Denzel Washington, where they can see into the past but only as time moves forward, and there is a terrorist they have to find. The second is Eagle Eye, in which Shia Labeouf is chased around America by what seems to be a terrorist organization, but is actually, you guessed it, a crazy computer program. And finally the worst movie this trailer looks just like is the awful and disgraceful Vantage Point. Let me just say that with all the very good actors in Vantage Point (besides for Matthew Fox, I  hate you Matthew Fox), I truly believed that flashing back to the exactly same vantage point (get it?) repeatedly through out the movie was probably the most frustrating technique I have ever seen in any movie, ever. But Source Code actually proved me 100% wrong. What’s wrong with Vantage Point is Matthew Fox, and everything else about it. The trailer had me doubting this film, but the director had me intrigued. Source Code was helmed by sophomore Duncan Jones, who’s first film, the eerie and mind bending sci-fi Moon absolutely blew me away. So continued to have high hopes. Fun fact, Duncan Jones is actually David Bowie’s son.

The Source Code actually just takes you into Labyrinth

Source Code‘s tone is reminiscent of the question inducing Moon. But what is most magnetic about the film is it throws red herrings at the audience like Mariano Rivera fastballs. It is truly a thriller, and a guessing game. It will keep you on your toes and at the edge of your seat. I’m going to try not to ruin anything in this breif explanation, but if you really want to know nothing before watching this movie I seriously advise you to stop here.

The film centers on Jake Gylenhall (always acceptable, never extraordinary) who wakes up on a train to Chicago. With no memory of who he is, why he is there, or who the hot but homely woman talking to him is (it’s Michelle Monaghan) he runs into the bathroom, only to find that his face is not his face. Time to officially freak out, which is precisely what he does. But before Jake, Michelle, or anyone can jump to any conclusions, BOOM, the train explodes. And then, BOOM, Jake wakes up in a metal octagon tank strapped to a chair, in his army uniform. Quickly a monitor turns on and Vera Farmiga begins to talk to our protagonist. It is clear this is a military operation, but the last thing Jake, who is now revealed to be Colonel Colter Stevens, remembers is getting in a helicopter in Afghanistan. Once he calms down and begins to remember everything except what is happening to him, Colleen Goodwin (Farmiga) explains to him that the train he was on exploded due to a terrorist attack 3 hours prior, and the bomber was on that train.  Now that bomber is threatening to blow up a dirty bomb in downtown Chicago, and it’s Steven’s task to go back in time and find the bomber.

The real Dirty Bomb

So Colleen and her boss Dr. Rutledge (played by the always supporting actor Jeffery Wright) keep sending Stevens back in time. What allows the military to do this is a program called the Source Code. The one, little, hiccup with this project is that it can only send you back for 8 minutes. So Steven’s keeps getting sent back in time, pretty much against his will, and keeps getting blown up. But every time Stevens is sent back he starts learning more about the train, the passengers, the differences. And every time he goes back, I found myself guessing who it could be. The duel mystery of who the bomber is, and what the Source Code really does, is put together very effectively. Although this just sounds like another who-dunnit terrorist movie, I can assure you, the revelations made through out the film are big and jaw-drop worthy. The best aspect of this movie is undoubtedly the script. Gylenhall is exactly what he is supposed to be; relatable, strong willed, and innocent. He is good, but again no exceptional. I wish Mr. Jones had decided to stick with his Moon star tried to get Sam Rockwell again. But no real complains about Mr. Gylenhall. Vera Farmiga does a fine job as usually, a little bland, but a stable and effective as the moral center of the film. This moral center becomes very important as clues about the Source Code and Colten Stevens come out. I will say no more because I would hate to ruin the film for anyone. Here is the first 5 minutes of the film, hope you enjoy! Tell me what you think, or if you have seen is, any good discusion starter would be great!

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