Thursday, May 5, 2011

New Release: Source Code

I know it's been ages since I've actually posted something besides the podcast or Wednesdays mashup.  But I seem to have exorcised most of the things keeping me from writing (formatting page numbers in WORD is my new thing to hate).   So hopefully I'll have a few new posts a week as I catch up on a few things.

First, Source Code seemed like a movie that would be right up my alley - sci-fi element, repeated viewing of a single scene, mind-screwing.  And happily it definitely was.  Jake Gyllenhaal plays Colter Stevens, a soldier on a mission - from a capsule with computers and a voice and image telling him what to do.  Vera Farmiga plays his commanding officer, Colleen Goodwin, and Jeffrey Wright plays her boss, Dr. Rutledge.  Rutledge has figured out how to reprogram someone's brain to allow another person to experience the last 7 minutes of someone's life (the sci-fi physics explanation has something to do with electrical signals and such, and being a similar height and build).  Colter has been sent back to the last 7 minutes before a train in Chicago blows up.  He inhabits a teacher talking to a colleague, Christina (Michelle Monaghan) on the train and has been tasked with figuring out who planted the bomb.  It takes a few runs through for his brain to remember things from going in and out.  He has flashes of memory of things he doesn't understand, but come back eventually to mean something.  The process screws with his brain more often than not.

I won't tell you much more about the story since trying to make it all make sense will only spoil it - or drive me crazy trying to make linear sense of it all.  There's definitely an element of space and time being a curved object but that's for someone else to puzzle out.  What I can tell you is that Jake Gyllenhaal plays an excellent soldier - trying to figure out all of the parameters of his mission, while attempting to find out what happened to his unit and whether he can speak with his father.  Eventually we figure out that all is not what he thinks it is, but that doesn't make him any less of a soldier.  Vera Farmiga is terrific trying to get him to stay on mission, and Jeffrey Wright is terrific as always as the jerk-off civilian scientist trying to prove his brain-child is a prodigy.

Overall, the pacing and direction of the movie were terrific - showing the same (or nearly so) dialogue over and making each way of showing the scene just a bit different gets us into the mind of Colter seeing it all again, but knowing it's different somehow.  The acting is pretty great for all involved, and the screwiness of the story keeps you interested throughout.  And the finale is one for the history books.  4 of 5 stars/lambs


Nick said...

A review! Awesome :)

Yeah, I really enjoyed the movie, too. Good job!

David Bishop said...

Nice. I really liked the movie as well. I tried to piece together what I could on what was going on awhile back: Cracking the Source Code

SPOILER ALERT! I found it very amusing that you called it his 'brain' child. Was that intentional?

Jess said...

@Nick - Thanks! There will be two more in the next week.

@ David - Thanks for posting the link. I tend to skip reviews for movies I want to see blind, so now I'm excited to go back and see what people thought. And YES! It was intentional. Thanks for noticing.

Dan O. said...

The premise is taken from other films, and the script isn’t that good but somehow Jones just makes this such a suspenseful movie and you have no idea what’s going to happen next. I’m also glad to hear that he may be taking over “The Wolverine” project. Sweet. Good Review!