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Cracking the Source Code Print E-mail
Written by MATT KOLTHOF   
Friday, 22 April 2011
When walking into the theater with my pop and chocolate bar, I wasn't expecting much. Jake Gyllenhaal's last two films Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and Love & Other Drugs weren't bad but weren't great either. But through word of mouth and critical responses from people such as Richard Roeper and Roger Ebert, I knew there would be some heart-pounding suspense and chase sequences. Maybe not having any standards entering the film gave me openness to the concept, art, and thought put into it.

“Source Code”
Entertainment
Art

Rated: PG-13
Released: April 1, 2011
Directed by: Duncan Jones
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright, Russell Peters, and Michael Arden

First off, let me state that if you were a fan of such films as Star Wars, Star Trek, 2001: A Space Odyssey, or Close Encounters of the Third Kind you will enjoy this movie. This movie really rejuvenates old time sci-fi films. There are lots of elements as to what gives this film of feeling like a 70s sci-fi hit. The soundtrack is eerie and inspiring, the performances are raw and unforgettable, some of the characters are peculiar and uncommon in most films, and the film uses the science and theory of this concept more than the mind-blowing action. In fact, the film doesn't contain as much action but more suspense and hardcore drama.

Gyllenhaal's portrayal as Captain Coulter Stevens was intense and powerful. What establishes a good relationship between the viewers and the protagonist in this film was the way the filmmakers used the first person point-of-view. The film starts with a confused Gyllenhaal which shows that we know only as much as the main character. This helps us respond better to his acts and emotions because we can initially understand what he's going through. This is very crucial, as the unraveling of his startling situation is revealed it only hooks us into the movie more and more.

Michelle Monaghan gave another solid performance. Unlike anything she has done before, she uses the vulnerability of the character through the innocence of her not knowing the situation, that Christina Warren becomes charming and enticing.

The romance in the film is a lot more complicated than in other films. They're falling for each other but can't see each other any further, because he is not in his true body and persona. You see the source code works by having someone link to a recently deceased person's brain. A certain area of the brain can reveal and put you into his or hers life to relive the last eight minutes of their life. Which in the case of this film, can lead to a murderer or bomber in the end. So Captain Stevens is asked to go into the last eight minutes of a certain man's last dying breaths, to hopefully identify the bomb and even the bomber and prevent a future attack.

Now to steer you away from the plot, Vera Farmiga is at her usual best playing Captain Colleen Goodwin. After her success from The Departed and Up in the Air all we can expect is her to get better and better, and trying different roles to top her last. Captain Goodwin works for the military and is in charge of this individual mission in the source code. Her character becomes a very key piece to the future of Stevens. It's her battle with herself, to choose between good or bad that allows her to play with the emotions of the audience.

Thanks to the underdog Jeffrey Wright who's best know roles of him contain Syriana, Casino Royale, and Quantum of Solace, returns to the big screen as Dr. Rutledge. Rutledge, a quirky and unusual scientist who created the source code, may not be a daunting villain but it is his greed for power, money and success that lead to his shady dealings. This character is done perfectly and was the best of the best in this film, in my opinion. This character is the answer to the entire films tone of old time science fiction fun, bring strange characteristics such as his squeaky voice, peculiar face twitches and cane, he almost feels like he belongs in a classic Bond film.

What's interesting about Source Code is its ability to prove effective to its audience, its ability to be thrilling without car chases or gunfights, to elude itself away from spectacular action and effects sequences and focus on every thread of plot and each character's role in the story. Its this approach to film making that gives its underlying, thought-provoking establishment and the willingness to bite its teeth into the new Hollywood while staying true to the classic cinema 40 years ago.

The continuation of the story is superbly crafted. It seems as if every time he goes back into the deceased man's mind each layer of mystery and questions gets lifted uncovering more and more uncertainties on both sides of Captain Stevens mind leading to a conclusion that no one ever expects. Each piece of the puzzle explains more and step by step comes to a broad and wide conclusion, which for any viewer is satisfying.

As an aspiring director, I see the infinite thought put into this picture from Duncan Jones. His previous film (Moon), another sci-fi, plus Source Code highlight the idea and importance of character development in genres that can afford the spectacular. Instead he focuses on the emotions and responsibilities of characters as a tool for the conflict. This leads to character-driven films with fantastical settings and backgrounds. This can garner a lot of viewers who want to see how real people react in situations that aren't possible in daily life.

Altogether the film holds itself strong with powerful performances, a productive storyline, and a suspense that leads to blazing, breakneck action and passionate romance. This film is really an attractive film to all sorts of people and leads to a fast-paced, high-flying time!

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