Monday, April 18, 2011

Source Code - Movie Review

Image copyright Summit Entertainment
Source Code is an exciting, interesting, emotion charged, and sometimes baffling movie. And considering that it is also a riveting whodunit thriller, I am surprised that the box office take isn’t larger than the approximately $36,000,000 (thru 4/18/11) it has garnered since April 1 when it opened in theaters across the U.S. I went to see it on Sunday afternoon and there were eight, maybe ten people in the small theater. I’m not complaining, because the fewer people in the small space we were in, the less distractions while the movie played. But as good as the film is, this didn’t seem like a fair-sized audience. Maybe the marketing of the movie is inadequate, though I do have to give kudos to the studio, who, besides making the standard trailers available for the film, also made available the first five minutes of the movie as a teaser on Yahoo’s movies website. The trailers, including the five minute one hooked me and I had to see the film. Source Code has even gotten many good critical and user reviews (including this one).

Jake Gyllenhaal, is terrific as Captain Colter Stevens, an Air Force helicopter pilot who wakes up in another man’s body on a doomed train headed for Chicago (doomed I tells ya). For a good portion of the movie he is trying to acclimate himself to his confusing situation and finds out a little here and a little there to keep the viewer interested in what is happening to the man. In the seat across from him on the commuter train is a friend of “his”, a woman named Christina who is played very well by Michelle Monaghan.

At the start of the movie, the viewer is made aware that Captain Stevens is apparently on a mission to find out who bombed a commuter train and thwart a possible nuclear dirty bomb attack on the city of Chicago. And there is time travel of a sort involved. The twists and turns of storyline as Stevens tries to figure out where the bomb is, who the bomber is, and what his own situation is, make the movie plenty exciting. The unhomogeneous cast of characters on the train adds a realistic flavor to everyday life in the suburbs of an American city.

If you have ever seen Groundhog Day then you’ll recognize the parallel with that movie almost immediately, but unlike Groundhog Day which beats you over the head with its plot gimmick, Source Code does not. In an interesting casting nod, Scott Bakula, who played a time traveler in Quantum Leap, is cast as the voice of Capt. Stevens’ father, though I didn’t realize it at the time and it doesn’t matter in terms of the movie, it is just a cool connection. 

What a great picture! If you’re going to see a movie in the next week or two, see this film!

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