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>> Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hot Train Time Machine? Definitely.

Every year around this time I seem to find movies I like to label as one of the great movies of the year. Last year I called Date Night one of the funniest and best movies of the year - turns out that prediction was a little premature. However, Source Code is definitely one of the best films I've seen in the past year and if not that, it's certainly one of the most entertaining films I've been to lately. Albeit, I am a big fan of movies centered around plot lines involving a form of time travel, but normally they let me down and I'm left feeling cheated. Will nothing ever live up to Back to the Future?!

So Source Code goes something like this: Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal, Prince of Persia) wakes up on a train headed for Chicago and meets Christina Warren (Michelle Monaghan) who insists she knows him. After some stumbling around and wrapping his mind around the confusing nature of the situation (and we're right there with him!), the train explodes and Stevens is jolted awake in an odd, metal capsule. There he learns from Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga, Orphan, Up in the Air) that he has just awaken from the 'source code' - a sort of simulation that is far too complicated for the average man to understand, but is more or less a shadow of an event that's already passed (or at least the last eight minutes of one). If you've ever seen Deja Vu and are thinking that Source Code sounds similar, you're about right.

While Stevens doesn't fully understand his reason for being there, Goodwin tells him it's for the greater good and his reason for being there is trumped by Stevens' need to find out who the bomber is (or was, rather) along with the the explosive that's been planted. While hesitant at first, his love at first sight for Christina is motivation enough for Stevens to continue trying until he complete his task - over and over and over. If you've ever seen Groundhog Day and are thinking Source Code sounds similar, you're about right.

As you may expect, with director Duncan Jones' previous film being Moon, there's something with Source Code that must remain a secret as well - for telling ya'll would ruin the film and this is one movie you should be seeing anyway. I'll tell you though that without this twist, Source Code would've been magnificent anyways. Does it therefore make the twist pointless? No. It's more of a story 'enhancer' than the story itself. But it's certainly not as important as the twist uncovered by Sam Rockwell in Moon.

What I most appreciated about Source Code was its pacing. Mixed along with a twist here or there, some incredible action, a few heart felt moments and some comedy believe it or not - Source Code never has a dull moment. It easily snags an open door and I encourage you to walk through it (just not over and over, eight minutes at a time). The last time travel movie I felt decently strongly about was 2004's Primer (honorable mention goes to 2008's Timecrimes). Source Code for the record, is at least twice as good - but half as complex.

*Stills courtesy of Vendome Pictures


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