Source Code Review
Duncan Jones, who is the son of David Bowie, came onto the film scene with a loud bang with the amazing independent sci-fi film, Moon. Jones follow up to that film is Source Code. Source Code is also the film that proves Jones is no fluke. One part Groundhog Day, one part Inception, and (of course) one part Moon is a dazzling entry into the sci-fi film genre.
Source Code follows Captain Colter Stevens, an army helicopter pilot who last remembers being attacked by the enemy while on a mission, waking up on a train. He doesn't know how he got there and he eventually realizes that he is inside someone else's body. The rest of the film is filled with twist after twist and divulging anything further would get into spoiler territory (which is very similar to trying to discuss the plot of Moon). Trailers and other promotions for this film have unfortunately gone a little too far in revealing the plot but I will not here.
Source Code is directed by Duncan Jones from a script by Ben Ripley (who is best known for writing Scifi Channel movie of the week Species III). The script for the film is surprisingly adequate for a guy that wrote a scifi movie of the week. My only complaint would be that it gets too bogged down at points in exposition. The film (no pun intended) cruises along in the first act, but when it comes down to explaining what is going on, the script really weighs down the second act. However, this only a minor complaint because Duncan Jones' amazing directions makes the film rise above the problems in the second act. Jones' directing makes sure you know exactly what is going on in this crazy storyline until he gives us an ambiguous ending that perfectly fits the rest of the film. Like Inception was Christopher Nolan's film this is Duncan Jones' film. Jones style of paying homage to films of the past yet very willing to take major risks is very prevalent throughout the film. Jones proves he is not just a one hit wonder and that is a man we have to pay attention to in the future.
The cast is nothing special beyond its charismatic lead. Jake Gyllenhaal has always had a career of unfulfilled promise, but with Source Code, Gyllenhaal is finally putting his talent to use. Gyllenhaal essentially has the DiCaprio from Inception role, and, yet he is able to out act his more talented fellow thespian. Gyllenhaal quickly makes you believe in the hero of the film and from there on out you feel all of the confusion, heartbreak, and happiness that the character feels. This is truly a career performance for Gyllenhaal (Just don't go in anticipating a performance of the same level as Sam Rockwell). Only Michael Arden rises above mediocrity from the supporting cast as a possible terrorist suspect. Arden makes it look easy playing a character that makes you believe in his innocence one moment and then believing in his guilt the next. However, no one is bad within the supporting cast with the exception of Jeffrey Wright. Unfortunately for Wright, he is given most of the exposition of the film. However, Wright makes the unwise choice of taking what should have been a straight forward role into a campy one. Wright almost derails the film in the second act (but Duncan Jones stops that from happening).
The behind the camera aspects of the film are pretty average. The editing is impressive and very similar to Lee Smith's work on Inception. The one difference is that Source Code moves at a faster pace. The score is pretty impressive. It is very bombastic but that is what you expect in a film with a lot of explosions. Nothing else is of much interest there.
Source Code is a worthy follow up to Moon for Duncan Jones, and it would not surprise me to hear Jones' name be called with other greats of the genre in the near future.
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