Firing neurons, dying brains and alternate reality – Source Code

I was not about to quibble over the scientific accuracy of the premise. My main worry from the promos was that sending a man back over and over again to the exact same scenario could become highly repetitive and boring. Source Code proved to be the exact opposite! It provided an edge of the seat thrill of a chase after a bomber who is about to decimate Chicago. Buried with the film were issues relating to the right to die and the eternal conflict between the humane cause of saving lives and inhumane way in which it is often pursued. Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) discovers he is a part of a secret Air Force outfit called Beleaguered Castle that runs the Source Code program. This can send a virtual being back in time for 8 minutes (the overlap between the time that neurons are still active in the brain of a dead man and some quantum Physics gobbledygook) to investigate and possibly avert a disaster or accident.

Capt. Stevens discovers himself on a train sitting opposite a woman Christina ( Michelle Monaghan), and in about 8 minutes the train blows up as it has a bomb on board. Colter finds himself back in a “pod”, being addressed on a TV monitor by Captain Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) and being told what his mission was. He is sent back again and again as he tries to piece together the puzzle of the bombing. Along the way the scene is set most innovatively each time, compressed in time so focus is on the new discoveries that Colter makes. Back in the pod he and Goodwin develop a camaraderie as Colter finds out he may not really be alive after all! The alternate realities that are created with his every visit back to the train end in explosive finales with all concerned dying. His penultimate trip is most interesting and sets up the stage for his getting a chance to create an alternate reality as his real self is terminated.

While no Inception in how deeply the plot has thought things through, the film nevertheless is pithy, to the point and full of thrills a minute. Jake Gyllenhaal is tremendously likable as the man whose death was stolen away from him. He shines equally in the explosive moments of anger and moments of tenderness and sorrow. Vera Farmiga is the surprise package, the almost robotic controller who turns into a compassionate comerade. Duncan Jones directs this almost non-stop and adrenaline pumping thriller. It is expertly edited to make the repetition of the setting almost novel every time, making this one well worth a watch!

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2 Responses

  1. Agreed on all counts. The true genius of this film is in showing us those 8 minutes over and over again and editing it such that it never gets boring.

    And the strong performances enhance the experience.

  2. Yes – I wonder how it will play out in India – where people get BORED at the drop of a hat!

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