Source Code is a thrilling mystery yet remains a scientific drama. Filled with continuous twists and turns, the movie’s plot leads into one scenario but soon unlocks the mystery to another. With several themes and storylines interacting at once, there is room for confusion. Regardless, director Duncan Jones does a wonderful and creative job in bringing an alternate reality to life.
Although its storyline connects to each theme, the behind the scenes work lacks a bit of logic. Source Code’s biggest fault is its failure to adequately explain the parameters of the supposed alternate reality experiment. Through unclear governmental computer genius, Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) is uploaded into the body of a civilian. He wakes to discover that he has become part of a government experiment and is asked to serve his country and help prevent a disaster. With no clues behind a strange explosion outside of Chicago, a new and secret project is activated. At this point in the film, Stevens is confused as well as the audience.
The idea of a “source code” program intrigues the viewer. It allows the test subject to relive the last eight minutes of a particular person’s life. The theory is that each person contains a short-term memory that can be explored and expanded on. While in that eight-minute cycle, you are essentially in an alternate reality that allows you to explore and interact with your surroundings. It is more than a memory, it is real, but it is also a frozen moment in time that cannot be used to affect the present or future.
However, the problem with such a thrilling concept opens itself to many flaws and plot holes. Viewers are left wondering why characters cannot exit others’ memories at random and how they immediately recognize faces as someone else.
Another notable flaw on the technical side is the musical selection that seemed to mismatch the movie. The music seemed to play at awkward moments while absent at others. Music in films especially thrillers are apparent immediately and should enhance the drama, but unfortunately Source Code lacked this.
In Source Code, much of the drama and impact come from the surprises, especially half way through the film. The characters also execute their roles well, especially Gyllenhaal as Stevens.
The two most difficult and best performances in the film rest with Vera Farmiga and Michelle Monaghan. Farmiga plays Stevens’ contact, Carol Goodwin, and the role is a complex one. It seems she is hiding something yet her duty takes priority over her emotions. Her role is vital to the climax of the film. The other leading lady, Monaghan, has the tricky task of replaying the same role. Her character as Christina is connected to the person that Stevens lives through, so each time he restarts the eight minutes, she is there repeating the same lines. She is the ultimate victim in this movie, trapped in continuously reliving
The beauty of the Source Code is its originality. Some may not be able to look past the film’s scientific paradoxes or logical gaps, but the ending will have audiences talking. If looking for an original movie with the characteristics of a thriller, a mystery, a drama and a science fiction combined, then Source Code is a must see.