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Source Code - Movie Review by A.D.Harris

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Taken From: theadamharris.blogspot.com

Once in a blue moon a movie comes around that feels fresh and original on many levels. It isn't a sequel, an adaptation or a film that fits nicely next to it's brothers of a specific genre; it's something on it's own. Source Code is that movie, sneaking up out of no-where to give a fresh vision on film-making, storyline, characters and plot and becomes a movie that you can sit down and try to truly grasp its ideas long after you've left the theatre.

Coming from the director of cult smash-hit 'Moon,' Brit director Duncan Jones on his first attempt at pleasing the big budget studios of Hollywood has been granted a surprising amount of freedom and space to let his creative talents flow. As a result he has produced something that despite its big budget, set pieces and stars is very much small on scope and has a neatly packaged interwoven storyline. It in some respects is 'Moon' on a slightly larger commercial mainstream scale, replacing Sam Rockwell's Sam Bell with Jake Gyllenhaal's Colter Stevens and a space station on the moon for a train across the United States. There's no denying Jones is in his element tackling big questions in small movies and 'Source Code' is exactly the type of screenplay he should be converting to the screen.

To reveal the secrets of 'Source Code' beforehand would be something of a travesty, but it's general idea is the principle "What if you had another chance to re-live the past?" Source Code allows the person within it to travel back into the lives of the recently deceased and is given infinite attempts to solve the mystery of their death; in this case who killed the people on the train within those last seven minutes. Of course this draws many philosophical questions revolving around possibilities to change the past; can the passengers be saved as well as if they are what does this mean for the future? The great thing about 'Source Code' is it is not afraid to delve into these grand mysteries and pushes the viewers intelligence to follow it on the journey.

The true genius of the movie however is that whilst these giant questions are being posed, you also are given some fantastic Hollywood moments; a spectacular twist in the storyline coming a lot earlier than expected, huge action sequences as Gyllenhaal's Stevens tries to escape the exploding train as well as attempting to find the bomb and the bomber. It's an action spectacle that really has your brain ticking throughout and so some comparisons have to be drawn with 'The Matrix' & 'Inception,' yet 'Source Code' is a much smaller movie in terms of scale and scope and perhaps is better off as a result.

The action on the train is perfectly mirrored by the plot-line that is driven through in the scenes whilst Colter Stevens is out of the source code and communicating through a computer screen with the creators of the programme. Very wordy and explanitory scenes come across as fun, intelligent and exciting and this is helped by great performances by Vera Farmiga as Captain Goodwin, Stevens' direct contact within the programme and Jeffrey Wright as Dr. Rutledge in a eerie performance as the creator. Farmiga gets a great deal of emotion out in the small amount of scenes she is given and also balances the human/science aspects of the story to great effect. She always commands the viewers interest and it's a joy to watch her tough steely exterior begin to break down through the final third of the movie. Meanwhile Jeffrey Wright manages to find a great deal of scope in his Doctor, the dark secrets hiding behind his glasses meaning we are never truly sure whether to trust him or not.

The star of the show of course is Gyllenhaal who truly cements the fact that he can lead any movie with the simplest or ease and the most confident of performances. Colter Stevens is in virtually every scene of 'Source Code,' dealing with the emotions and mystery behind his involvement in the programme, tackling the set piece spectacle of the exploding train as well as the love story that develops with Michele Monaghan's Christina as he tries to find a way to save her from a fate that appears to have already been decided. It is his strongest performance to date, you truly believe in his relationship with Christina despite the small amount of time they get together and you feel every emotion Stevens feels as the truth behind the source code programme unravels. The masterclass behind the performance is that is is so subtle and real that you're with him throughout, regardless on whether you believe he is making the right decisions or not.

The ending of a movie posing such big questions on a philosophical scale is always very important; can it satisfy the viewer enough whilst tackling questions bigger than any of us could ever truly explain. The answer is that is does, providing a hopeful, bittersweet but incredibly clever second twist which sneaks up out of no-where and hits you in the face. The result is a huge grin of the lips as well as the brain whirring into fifth gear as you try to truly understand the ramifications of what has just occurred. There's no denying that the one scene where time literally stands still will have everyone on the edge of their seat, hoping...

What you're hoping for is I can't say, that is for you to find out when you watch the movie; something I could not recommend any higher. To see something this original is reason enough, but to see something this good should have you picking up your car keys and heading for the cinemas right now...

Whilst in the source code it's unclear whether you truly get a 'second chance', the great thing is that with film there is always the chance for a second viewing. 'Source Code' demands it.
The great thing is that it deserves it as well...

8.5/10

Adam

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Twitter: @AdDHarris
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