Movie and Film Reviews (MFR) Action,Sci-Fi,Thrillers Movie Review – Deciphering this “Source Code” becomes exhausting

Movie Review – Deciphering this “Source Code” becomes exhausting


Poor standard – It’s hard to know how films “truly” get green lit in Hollywood, but sometimes I wonder who is making some of these decisions.  Everything doesn’t have to be some intense drama or Oscar pick, but wouldn’t you expect at least some sort of standard to be met? I mean, all too often I see films that look absolutely ridiculous, and yet they made it to the big screen while far better films like a “Black Swan” or “Winter’s Bone” never get seen until they wind up on an Oscar ballot. That’s the state of Hollywood nowadays and yet we all allow it to happen, which is precisely how and why a film as unorganized as “Source Code” made it this far.

What’s it about? I still am a little foggy on what this story was meant to do, but I do know it features a coupon themes, none of which that get explained all that well. But, essentially it all follows this former soldier by the name of Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) who awakens on a train to Chicago, not knowing how he got on that train and more importantly, where it was going.  Eight minutes later, the train blows up and Stevens is sent back in time to some unknown chamber.  Upon catching his breath, he is greeted by a voice and visual of Capt. Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) who tells Stevens he is inside what was known as the Source Code. As Stevens finds out, the Source Code was no more than a program that allowed soldiers like himself to take over someone else’s body in their last eight minutes of life. Knowing there was this sort of “loop hole,” Goodwin and Co. assign Stevens back to the train he blew up on, hoping to gather details around who was responsible before another tragedy occurred. It was then this entire film derailed and never got back on track, as the deeper you went into the unknown that was this story, the more convoluted it became resulting in a conclusion that will make you want your money back.

Who was in it? Sadly the only member of this cast worth noting is Jake Gyllenhaal, who once again showed what he was capable of. Sure, it’s not the most dynamic of roles, but he pulled it off and really was the only thing that kept me from running out the door.And for a guy people think they know, but have only seen him one or two times on the big screen, that says something as he continues to improve as an actor. I mean, anyone that can keep you involved around a story and script as erratic as this one must be doing something right. How could he not, when the rest of the cast was pretty much wasted with how poorly written the dialogue was. That in itself never allowed talents like Vera Farmiga and Jeffrey Wright to do anything but stumble over choppy moments within this story which made it extremely hard to watch.  About the only highlight to this supporting cast was Michelle Monaghan, who managed to make something out of nothing with her role opposite Gyllenhaal. I realize she wasn’t given as much, but it was still nice to watch her act in this train wreck of a story, reminding me that we don’t see enough of her on the big screen.


Broken time – In an era where technology never seems to stop, a film like “Source Code” should be one that sticks. Unfortunately, instead of sticking, this one slides further away the longer you watch making me wonder how a director like Duncan Jones ever got signed. I know it’s early, and yes, I have not seen Jones’ other film “Moon,” but if it even feels remotely like this, he should just quit now. Maybe that’s a little harsh when you figure the writer of this “piece,” Ben Ripley, had a hand in all of it, but it’s hard to deny how chaotic this film felt.  So, while Jones may grow into a decent director one day, that’s not today and I doubt it will be tomorrow; because the reality is, with a script as bad as this, any sort of flaw with direction will be exposed, which it was and then some here.  With that said, I do think this was a cool idea some point.  But, when you don’t bother to explain the little nuances and maybe how we got here, that coolness wears off quick.

I’ve always maintained without some sort of background, a story with these kinds of twists will never work, despite the science-fiction undertones. It just seemed like Jones was too scared to take this film where it could have gone and that’s too bad, cause I do believe at the core, Ripley’s story had some untapped potential. The interlinings were quite sophisticated, but the way it was laid out was amateur for a film with time travel involved. Nothing felt completed and by the time the ending came, you just didn’t care. And what an ending it was, filled with what I like to all the “ah, ha” moment, like the director pulled something over on you. Maybe had I cared about the first 98 percent of the film, I would be impressed, but when you purposely wait until the very last moment for some unique twist, I’m more irritated than shocked.  That doesn’t mean I don’t want mystery or intrigue, it just means without any subtle hints along the way, my interest level will dissipate. It doesn’t half to tell me everything but there is no opportunity to figure it out, which is sad and really almost disrespects any other film attached to this misunderstood genre.

Bottom Line – “Source Code” certainly isn’t the worst film when it comes to anything sci-fi, but it’s not the best either.  And I think in the end, that’s where this film lies, somewhere in the middle of mediocre which simply is not good enough.


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