If you caught our review of Moon (Episode 40), then you would know we’ve already become fans of director Duncan Jones’ work. For his Sophomore follow up, Jones continues the trend he started with Moon, of questioning the way we value human life with “Source Code”.
In Source Code we follow Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal), who is part of a special unit of soldiers capable of re-playing or re-living the final moments of a crime through the eyes of a victim in order to investigate it, in this specific case a commuter train blown up by a terrorist, who may be planning to detonate a larger device later. Colter is given the last 8 minutes of a passenger’s life to investigate and determine who the bomber is.
The movie draws from several obvious influences: "Groundhog Day", "La Jetee"/"12 Monkeys", "Donnie Darko", maybe even a touch of Quantum Leap. The influences aren’t as important though as the execution of this film. Just as "Moon" dealt with sci-fi story elements we’d seen before, but with a fresh outlook on these tired genre concepts, "Source Code" follows in Jones’ ethic of using a light handed touch to tell an intimate story, surrounded by sci-fi tropes.
Even though we’re dealing with terrorism and bomb threats, the film is incredibly focused, a narrow drama about the relationships between the four main characters. There’s something oddly refreshing about that. Just like "Moon", where there was very little spectacle, Source Code also follows in a more grounded execution, and the “magic” of the sci-fi tropes is fairly commonplace. Thankfully, there was very little “this is how the magic works”, which aids significantly in maintaining suspension of disbelief. You tend not to seriously question a device that all the characters on screen take for granted…
Jone’s style has also taken an evolution, where I most often compare "Moon" to an eighty minute episode of the Twilight Zone, "Source Code" has more of a Frankenheimer feel to it, chock full of anxiety and claustrophobia. Each character is dealing with his or her own trap, and through this restraint (both in script and execution) comes a lot of dramatic possibility. The story is surprisingly nimble considering the amount of repetition we’re faced with.
At this point though I need to stop, as everything else that I would want to talk about would pretty much be a spoiler, and if you couldn’t tell already, I really enjoyed this film and hope you seek it out.
For more info check out the official "Source Code" site, and I have to give a quick thanks to WOMWorld/Nokia for letting me come and play here in Austin! I should have video from the Q&A session up within the next couple days!
All photos posted here from the "Source Code" premier were taken by me. I'm quite proud of them...