Film Review: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan Star in Thrilling Sci-Fi ‘Source Code’

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CHICAGO – Duncan Jones announced his arrival on the sci-fi scene with such authority with the excellent “Moon” that genre fans were naturally concerned about a sophomore slump. Worry no more. “Source Code” may first feel like a more traditional thriller but it’s clearly cut from the same cloth as “Moon” in that it takes the impossible and makes it human, even spiritual. Like the best sci-fi, “Source Code” is both entertaining and thought-provoking. It’s a great slice of entertainment that you’ll want to relive as soon as it’s done playing.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

“Source Code” will bring back memories of such unusual inspirations as “Groundhog Day” and “24,” but it mostly feels to this critic like what a classic thriller director like Alfred Hitchcock would have done with an episode of “The Twilight Zone.” Everything about the production, including the very Hermann-esque score, feels like an old-fashioned thriller with a futuristic twist. And the film goes from purely entertaining to something more in its final act when writer Ben Ripley and director Duncan Jones transcend mere science fiction for a spiritual commentary on what matters in life and maybe even in death.

StarRead Brian Tallerico’s full review of “Source Code” in our reviews section.

Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) wakes up on a train bound for Chicago on what seems like an average morning commute. He sees a beautiful woman named Christina (Michelle Monaghan) seated across from him. Christina speaks to Colter like she knows him but he does not recognize her and matters are complicated much further when she called him Sean. He opens his wallet to find another man’s face on his driver’s license, one that matches the one he first sees in his window and then in the bathroom mirror. As Colter/Sean is trying to determine just what kind of dream or incredibly-realistic simulation he’s partaking in, the train explodes.

Colter wakes up strapped into a capsule and his memories are jogged via a series of exercises administered by Goodwin (Vera Farmiga). She eventually explains to him, along with the help of a superior named Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright), that he is a part of an amazing new program called Source Code. You know how a light bulb retains a bit of incandescence after its turned off? Apparently, so does the human brain. Using that, the government has created an amazing program in which one man can literally jump into the last eight minutes of a life. This morning, a bomb was detonated on a Chicago-bound train. This afternoon, a dirty bomb will go off in the city itself if Colter can’t find the bomber using Source Code. The specifics of Colter’s situation along with the practical and spiritual implications of the program will be revealed as the movie progresses and, of course, it’s a pretty good thriller at the same time.

StarContinue reading for Brian Tallerico’s full “Source Code” review.

“Source Code” stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, and Jeffrey Wright. It was written by Ben Ripley and directed by Duncan Jones. It is rated PG-13 and opens on April 1st, 2011.

Source Code
Source Code
Photo credit: Summit Pictures

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