Best Movies of All Time + Vera Farmiga



Source Code is a 2011 action film directed by Duncan Jones that follow Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) as he tries to prevent a terrorist attack on a train inside the city limits of Chicago. We open on Stevens as he wakes up on the train, unsure of his surroundings and his apparent identity. After scrambling for a few minutes trying to gain his bearings, the train explodes, killing everyone on board. Stevens, however, awakes inside some sort of capsule and is immediately given instructions by a woman (Vera Farmiga) on a screen. He learns that the woman's name is Goodwin, and she informs him that he has a very special mission: the train exploded earlier that day, killing everyone on board; however, it was only the beginning of a string of attacks said to be taken out upon Chicago. Using a state-of-the-art, alternate reality system, Farmiga and creator Dr. Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright) have employed Stevens in order to stop the bomber in the hopes of finding out where the next attack might be headed. And so, Stevens is sent back time and again, slowly piecing together the mystery of the attack, but his focus is constantly tested by a young woman named Christina (Michelle Monaghan), a passenger on the train with whom Stevens takes an immediate liking. He vows to save her life at all costs, even when he's told it cannot be done.

When I first started seeing previews for this film, I wasn't terribly impressed with the premise. Although I was blown away by Jones's directorial debut (2009's Moon), his sophomore effort seemed a little bit lackluster. However, the film started to generate quite a bit of buzz, garner very strong reviews, so I figured I'd at least give it a shot. While I wasn't entirely blown away, I can safely say that Jones as struck again, and hopefully this film will meet more financial success than his previous endeavor.

I know that my above synopsis probably sounds a little confusing, but it's the best I can manage without giving away too many plot details. The screenplay for Source Code is actually quite strong - much more so than I had originally thought possible considering the type of fare. From the moment we're inserted into the "source code" with Gyllenhaal's character, the film slams its foot on the gas and never once lets us stop for a breath of air. We're given twist after twist after twist, but it never gets to be too much information for the audience. There are a few lulls here and there, but everything is ultimately explained (albeit a little simply, but that's neither here nor there).

The acting is actually pretty good as well, although there's no one who's going to blow you away. Gyllenhaal is fine as our lead, and he does offer a few sentimental scenes that show off his acting chop. I felt like Monaghan and Farmiga were a little under-utilized - they're both fine actresses capable of great emotion, but it felt like they didn't have the opportunity to utilize it. Wright is a little over-the-top in a couple of his scenes, but for the most part, he's serviceable. But this is really Gyllenhaal's vehicle. He's the one we see in nearly every shot, and he's the one we're supposed to root for and cheer for. He does just well enough to make his character likable, and the final payoff proves that he's somehow wormed his way into the hearts of the audience.

I'm not really sure what else I can say about Source Code. It's a very good film that's definitely worth seeing, but it may not be a must-see for theaters. I have a feeling that it's going to be a little bit forgettable, but when you're watching it, I can almost guarantee you'll be hooked. Just don't blink because you might miss something important.

Movie Review Summary:Grade: B+
2 Thumbs Up

2011, action, Duncan Jones, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jeffrey Wright, Michelle Monaghan, movie review, scifi, Source Code, and more:

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