I went into Source Code with a certain trepidation. I’d really enjoyed Moon and so expectations were high, but that wasn’t the cause of my trepidation. The apprehension I felt was because of the trailer which, to me, made very little sense and looked like a sloppily put together Hollywood sci-fi with everyone’s least favourite leading man, Jake Gyllenhaal. Well, I’m happy to have been proved wrong. This doesn’t have Moon’s art-house leanings but for Duncan Jones’ first hash at a big budget thriller this is an exceptionally strong calling card.
The premise of Source Code revolves around the idea of being able to journey back into the last eight minutes of a dead person’s life as a result of…ah, let’s say, neurons. It feels a bit like telling Voldemort that magic isn’t real but as premises go it’s not the most plausible. That adds even greater praise to that fact that they manage to pull it off without it becoming either ridiculous or infantile. A lot of the action rests on Gyllenhaal’s broad shoulders, with the supporting cast reduced to TV monitored bureaucrats (Vera Farmiga), totally lovely brief encounters (Michelle Monaghan) or crippled villains (Jeffrey Wright).
I said before that I find Gyllenhaal a ‘difficult’ screen presence. He was superb in Brokeback Mountain but since then he’s been in a string of not-so-goods like Prince of Persia and Love and Other Drugs. With Source Code he re-establishes himself as an A-List actor capable of carrying the weight of a Spring Blockbuster (especially after PoPs disappointing box office returns). The other star of the film is Duncan Jones who cements his growing reputation and ensures that the next flick he gets given will be a proper franchise starter.
Sci-fi doesn’t come much more guilt free than this. See this rather than Sucker Punch.