Source Code (2011)

Theatrical Poster
Source: IMP Awards
Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) awakens on a train, seemingly in a daze. A fellow passenger, Christina Warren, begins to tell him what is going on in her life before a passing lady spills coffee onto his shoe. The conductor asks for his ticket and he is clueless until Christina gets the ticket from his shirt pocket. An image passes in front of the window, prompting Sean to go to the toilet to look in the mirror. The reflection is not of him so he checks his wallet to find that the man's identity is Sean Fentress. Christina walks in to find out what is wrong, and the train explodes.

This starting scene has been officially available online for a few weeks now, heightening the mystery behind Source Code.

The film continues with Colter's release from a computer program called Source Code, codenamed Beleaguered Castle. This becomes further complicated as the only thing Colter can remember prior to the train is being a helicopter pilot in Afghanistan. He is told that he is running in the final 8 minutes of Sean Fentress' life - a victim from the Chicago train bombing. In order to prevent a further attack, Colter must find the explosives and identify the bomber. Meanwhile, Colter's interest heightens in his own life and how he came to be in the simulator with no other recollections.

Source Code is like the high-tech offspring of Déjà Vu and Groundhog Day in that the same recollected scene is played over and over again with variations in each run-through. The repeating train explosion scenes are intermittently split up with 'real' life which is a clever way of developing Colter's character. Gyllenhaal plays both of these roles superbly, as one man struggling with inner demons and the other confused yet determined. This is tribute to his range of acting.

The story itself is genius. The audience is left battered and confused as the film develops and it becomes more difficult to see how the fairytale ending can occur in a way to please both of Gyllenhaal's characters. On that subject, the ending is not spoon-fed to the audience and this ambiguity only heightens the film's sense of mystery.

By repeating the same scenes over and over it enables director Duncan Jones to release as much or little information to satisfy the audience as he pleases - and he hits just the right spot in order to keep a satiable appetite throughout.

This leaves just one final nod to the big question that is passed over by the film - is it morally right to force a man, against his will, to perform an action that only he can do which could save the lives of millions of people?

A brilliant, thought-provoking film filled with enough action and empathetic emotion to keep your sci-fi/action satisfaction up... at least for 8 minutes anyway.



  1. I absolutely loved this film too. I was expecting a very downbeat ending and was pleasantly surprised with how 'feel good' (I hate that term but its appropriate here) the ending is.

    Some reviews said that the end was overly sentimental but I don't think sentimentality is a bad thing. Why do some reviewers semand that all films have some sort of shocking and disturbing ending rather than accepting that sometimes an upbeat ending is fitting and enjoyable? (rant over).

    Love your reviews BTW.



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