Source Code Review

A Breath of Fresh Air Into the Science-Fiction Genre

The poster for the movie Source Code.

Photo provided by flickr user filmizle42

The poster for the movie Source Code.

In the early years of the twenty-first century, the movie-going audience has been under a constant onslaught of over-the-top and kid-friendly superhero movies, which have quickly become the go-to movie when it comes to science fiction. It’s movies like Source Code that should remind everyone what true sci-fi really is, and it’s movies like these that should make us all stop and wonder.

Source Code is directed by Duncan Jones and stars Jake Gyllenhaal as US Army Captain Colter Stevens, a man who wakes up on a commuter train headed to Chicago. He has no idea how he’s gotten there, and everyone else on the train, especially a woman named Christina, played by Michelle Monaghan, seems to think that he’s someone else. Eight minutes after he wakes up, the train explodes, killing everyone on board. Afterwards, he wakes up inside a dark capsule, where he must enter the train again and again to find out who the bomber is, and stop another cataclysmic disaster from destroying Chicago. To say where this capsule is and who this is controlled by takes a sharp detour into spoiler territory, so it will be left at that. But, what follows for the next ninety-three minutes is one of the smartest science-fiction movies ever made.

This, not all of the Marvel movies that cater to children, is true science-fiction, something slightly unrealistic, but grounded enough to make everyone think. While avoiding spoilers, it can be said that the movie discusses themes about free will, and the dignity to make your own choices, even if they’re possibly life-ending. Director Duncan Jones explores these themes in a very poignant way, a way that makes Colter very likable and very endearing. As Colter, Gyllenhaal is fantastic, and he carries the movie almost effortlessly, an obvious testament to his talent. As Colter’s virtual-girlfriend, Monaghan is also very good, and does a very good job of making the audience care about her character, despite the fact that we only see the last eight minutes of her life. In a supporting role, as a person who just might be watching Colter in his capsule, Vera Farmiga of The Conjuring fame is also very good. In fact, all of the acting is fantastic.

Something that was quite good about Source Code was that, for a science fiction movie, there’s relatively no action. Despite what the synopsis might have the audience believe, this is not an action movie. Instead, we spend the ninety-three minutes learning about Colter, his ability to solve problems, and what might be an experiment as he tries to escape his prison. This type of movie was much more enthralling than the regular, run-of-the-mill action movie that is usually seen in cinemas, and was much better than the average superhero movie that seems to plague movie theaters every three months. To this critic’s shock, there is not one flaw with Source Code. It’s an extremely well-acted, well-directed, and thoughtful movie, one that has stayed, and will stay, in the minds of everyone that watches it.

Rating: A+