Review: Source Code




What would you do if you knew you had less than eight minutes to live? For Jake Gyllenhaal’s Captain Colter Stevens it’s not a matter of choice, but rather of necessity. A terrorist attack has just taken place onboard a Chicago commuter train, killing all passengers. With an imminent threat of yet another even more deadly attack, Captain Stevens has unknowingly entered the Source Code, a computer program that allows you to cross over into another man’s idenity in the last eight minutes of his life. His mission is to board the train assuming the identity of one of its passengers, locate the bomb, and identify the terrorist, so that the next attack can be prevented. With every unsuccessful attempt, the train explodes and the program reboots, leaving Stevens once again with eight minutes. While there is no limit to the amount of attempts within the Source Code, each reboot is precious time wasted and with another terrorist attack expected, the clock is ticking for Stevens to complete his mission.

The concept of the film draws on a story framework remindful of Harold Ramis’ Groundhog Day, not to the point where we expect each reboot to start with Sonny and Cher’s ‘I Got You Babe’ and end with Jake Gyllenhaal driving a pickup off a cliff with a groundhog in the passenger seat, but the similarities are definitely there.

Benefiting from a charismatic performance from Jake Gyllenhaal, who arguably gives his best work since Brokeback Mountain, and the themes reminiscent of Tony Scott’s severely underrated Deja Vu, Source Code is a satisfying science fiction thriller. That is until the film defies its own pre-established boundaries and ventures into the realm of preposterousness. Even great science fiction films, such as Inception and the aforementioned Deja Vu, ask us to suspend our concept of believability, but do so by way of establishing strict principles to their respective worlds and sticking to them.

The issue with Source Code is that when you think about its underlying premise, even the film’s pre-established principles defy all scientific logic. The film asks us to suspend disbelief to the point where the film’s preposterous nature blocks us from being fully immersed in the story and its characters. Where other films have succeeded in walking that fine line between believability and absurd, Source Code fails.

[notification type=”star”]46/100 - Where other films have succeeded in walking that fine line between believability and absurd, Source Code fails. [/notification]


About Author

I've always loved movies, but it wasn't until under the tutelage of Professor Garry Leonard at the University of Toronto that my passion for the industry became an understanding of an art form. With a specific fascination in both the western genre and Asian cinema in general, I am of the view that good movies are either enlightening or entertaining, and if you are truly lucky they are both.