Thursday, May 5, 2011

Source Code

An action thriller centered on a soldier who wakes up in the body of an unknown man and discovers he's part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train, Source code simply is one of those few action/sci-Fi movies that work effectively without exaggeration or embellishment.

"Source Code" is not a clichéd mediocre action blockbuster. The movie avoids being predictable and wants to be smart and mind-bending. Duncan Jones isn't the kind of director who cares about the action. By the way this is his first action movie but he's smart for not making super cool unrealistic action scenes. He cares about the story. The movie have many intriguing subplots that is not easy to figure out. The movie wanted to be as smart as possible.

Jake Gyllenhaal as Captain Stevens and Michelle Monaghan as Christina in Source Code: ‘It’s a brilliantly edited opening to a film that nearly rips your lapels off, with a grip that never lets go.’ Photograph by Jonathan Wenk. One man's nightmare can often be another man's big night out, at least in the cinema. Duncan Jones, the 39-year-old British film-maker who grew up weighed down by the name of Zowie Bowie, has followed up his remarkable 2009 debut Moon with another science-fiction movie, in this case a thriller that takes us into the truly troubled mind of a man who believes himself to be US army captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal).

Stevens wakes with a jolt on a commuter train making its way into Chicago, shortly before 8am one idyllic spring morning. A pretty girl called Christina (Michelle Monaghan) sitting opposite him says: "I took your advice." Who is she? What is the advice she's taken? Stevens doesn't know why he's here, the girl laughs when he says he's a helicopter pilot in Afghanistan, and a succession of odd incidents occurs before he goes to the lavatory. There he discovers he's carrying ID identifying him as Sean Fentman, a schoolteacher, and that the face in the mirror isn't his own. This is a classic film noir amnesia plot, brilliantly handled. Then, with the skyline of Chicago looming in the near distance, there's a gigantic explosion and the double-decker train disintegrates. It's a brilliantly edited opening to a film that nearly rips your lapels off, with a grip that never lets go for an hour and a half.
The film is helped tremendously by Gyllenhaal’s charisma. Colter is a character who is always trying to get his bearings and must flip between humor, disdain, anger, grief, and a host of other emotions as he attempts to not only complete his mission, but to understand his participation in it. Source Code is further proof that if you provide Gyllenhaal with a rich character, he will meet your expectations (if you provide him with Prince of Persia, it’s a different story…). Vera Farmiga and Michelle Monaghan also turn in strong work as Colter’s superior officer and a fellow passenger, respectively. The only weak link is Jeffrey Wright as the head of the Source Code program. Wright’s a usually reliable actor, but here he comes off as a cartoon and his line readings feel contrived and rehearsed.
Where Source Code has the biggest problem is in its finish. The film comes to a moment which would work as a final scene, and then it bypasses that scene to go for something more complex and uplifting. Jones delivers so much of the film with tremendous confidence that it’s jarring to see him twist the narrative into knots so that the audience can leave feeling upbeat (and chances are they’ll leave confused).

Despite a slightly weak finish, Source Code is another triumph for Jones. He’s shown that he can manage a mid-budget studio film that will appeal to mainstream audiences without sacrificing the thoughtful sci-fi elements that made Moon such a breath of fresh air. Source Code has flaws of its own, but as a 90-minute express ride of ideas, great acting and superb direction, it's genuinely unmissable.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...