Plot: Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) awakes in another man’s body on a train to Chicago that explodes. He’s soon told he has to keep re-living the same eight minutes on the train to discover the identity of the bomber in order to prevent another suspected attack on the city itself. Stevens tries to fulfill his mission while also trying to discover how he got here, how this technology works and desperately tries to save the life of a woman (Michelle Monaghan) on the train he falls in love with.
The Source Code: or as I like to call it, JV Inception. No, that’s being unfair. While they do share similarities, they are totally different animals. This is a completely ridiculous idea, but I am impressed with how it was handled. The basics of this whole shebang are explained pretty well. And all the information is given to you in pieces, but you get enough along the way to stay satisfied. The director (Duncan Jones) does an admirable job until the last act, but we’ll get into that later.
Jake Gyllenhaal FINALLY gives a performance that isn’t just going through the motions. I haven’t seen all his movies, but he’s always been ‘Mr. Mediocrity’ for me in films like Jarhead and even Brothers, which isn’t a great movie, but the acting is top notch, yet he melts away compared to everyone else. In Source Code, he is truly charismatic. He’s funny, likable, determined, smart and an easy character to root for. And I really felt for him when he’s just thrown into this ridiculous situation and given barely any information. The guy is pissed off!! I would be too.
The supporting characters are great as well. Vera Farmiga. Jeffrey Wright. Michelle Monaghan. They all give wonderful performances. Especially Michelle Monaghan, who I don’t think could have been any more likable. Her personality and charm is seeping out of the screen. It was impressive they were able to develop and juggle so many supporting characters, especially when they are almost all on this one train re-living the same eight minutes and constantly repeating dialogue.
The pacing is very strong. I promise you won’t be bored. It’s entertaining despite the fact you re-live a lot of the same crap. But there’s always something new and clever whenever Stevens goes back into the eight minutes as he progressively unlocks more information. Unfortunately, for all the good I’ve been saying, the last twenty minutes nearly derails (no pun intended) the entire movie.
(No spoilers, but will discuss tone of the ending from here on out) First of all, the main plot of the story is wrapped up way too predictably. It’s really anti-climactic. Really…You couldn’t think of something a little more interesting?
But after the ‘climax,’ the movie goes on a bit longer for an extended epilogue. It gets pretty damn corny. It almost feels like the end of Titanic where all the characters stand in the main hallway and watch Jack and Rose kiss.
But the resolution of this movie is like the NFL labor situation…just a giant mess. It made me think of another recent film, the Adjustment Bureau. The Adjustment Bureau goes for a boring, but logical ending. It made sense. This goes for the ‘OMFG Oooooooooooooo’ ending, but it doesn’t make any sense! How the hell did this ending happen!? It’s just way too out of left field. Inception had a mysterious ending as well, but you were given the tools to break down what potentially happened. I don’t even know where to begin on analyzing this ending. Maybe I need to see it again, but it left me pretty cold.
This is a very solid film. You’ll be entertained, the acting is great and there are multiple memorable characters. But it’s one of those situations where the ending frustrated me so much, I can’t call it a good movie. It’s worth checking out, but prepare for a ‘Huh?’ ending.
Also be prepared for the biggest product placement campaign for Dunkin Donuts. But I’m fine with it. Who doesn’t love Dunkin Donuts?
Rating: 6.5 out of 10 (Slightly better than ‘meh’)