Year of release: 2011
Director: Duncan Jones
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright, Michael Arden, Russell Peters, Cas Anvar, Craig Thomas
Genre: Action, Mystery, Romance
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7
After his debut with "Moon", director Duncan Jones again impresses with his follow up film, "Source Code", a science-fiction film where the lines of what is real and parallel existences are blurry. The film follows the story of Colter Stevens, a young soldier who finds himself in the body of a man he does not know. His mission is to identify the bomber of a train who is directed towards Chicago. Stevens is confused and unaware of what to do, until Goodwin, his army liaison, explains the details of the mission: the Source Code allows him to experience the final 8 minutes of the life of someone. He can take inhabit that person's life and try to find out who is the catalyst for all the destruction. What follows is Stevens' desperate attempt to save everyone, including in particular Christina, whom he meets on the train.
The film intelligently mixes a story which is vaguely reminiscent of Philip K. Dick with elements of conspiracy theory with a hero who doesn't really know what's going on and to whom the ending is a surprise (very much like the end surprise of M. Night Shyamalan's "The Sixth Sense"). The film also has the touch of Harold Ramis' "Groundhog Day", with the hero forced to relive the same event until he fulfils his mission, but in this case, the mission is a tragic one. Duncan Jones keeps the film continuously interesting and doesn't anchor it in elaborate special effects: everything we see is filtered through the actors, in particular Jake Gyllenhaal, who does a very good job portraying Colter Stevens. His confusion and despair keep propelling him towards the truth and by the end, his sense of peace is also his liberation. Michelle Monaghan and Vera Farmiga have good performances in a film that is extremely well done and paced. Worth watching.