Source Code (2011) Directed by Duncan Jones. With Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga and Jeffrey Wright.
With Moon, Duncan Jones affectionately recalled a bygone era of science-fiction, which instantly framed him as one of the most exciting young directors to pick up a megaphone (do they still use them?) in years. Source Code is his follow-up, which fulfills high expectations by not only succeeding as an entertaining story – but as an exciting idea with stirring emotional weight.
The film begins with striking aerial photography of Chicago. From here, it’d be reasonable to assume a broader scale than seen in Moon, but in-fact, much of the film takes place within intimate, enclosed spaces. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Colter Stevens (80’s action star name, or what!?), a man on a train. A train that due to an on-board bomb, explodes every eight-minutes. His mission is to stop it exploding. I’m simplifying, of course, and the science-fiction that fills the gaps, along with the humanity that resonates from the excellent screenplay, are the elements that make this film tick above the level of the average action-thriller.
Jake Gyllenhaal is a tremendous actor who towards the end of the film, stamps his quality by surpassing expectations to provide some genuinely moving moments. So many thrillers come and go, without so much as tweaking a basic emotion, but Duncan Jones isn’t the sort of director to waste our time, as he gradually peels back the layers to unearth a heart-wrenching tale beneath the high concept.
Source Code, like any great science fiction story, is brimming with ideas. At its heart, it’s about love and kindness. Duncan Jones is a film-maker who understands how to access our feelings while simultaneously igniting our imagination. 4.5/5