Duncan Jones directs a fast paced, adrenaline rushed Sci-Fi Thriller, not much unlike his previous outing with the genre. While Moon, was about finding the human amidst the gloomy setting of a lonely and abandoned space station with nobody on screen except two Sam Rockwells, Source Code is a movie full of people. This is Jones’s second feature film following the critically acclaimed Moon, and if people thought he was going to suffer from sophomore slump, they couldn’t have been more wrong.
Jake Gyllenhall stars as Captain Colter Stevens, in the body of a certain Sean, a passenger who is riding a train on its way to Chicago. He is sitting in front of the beautiful Christina (Michelle Monaghan), with whom he is travelling. The trouble is: Stevens doesn’t know what the heck is going on. At first, he tries to figure out what is going on. The usual ramblings on a train: the spilling of the coffee, the passengers reading newspapers, talking on the phone, or a certain Comedian who is late for a show, etc. Stevens doesn’t know what is going on. He goes to the bathroom and that is where the first shock for the audience comes: when Stevens looks into the mirror, it is not the blue eyed star looking back at him, rather a certain somebody who he has never seen in his life stares back at him through the mirror. Horrified, he leaves the bathroom and not a minute later the train explodes. Here is set the basic framework on which the story moves.
Captain Colter Stevens has to look for the bomb that has been placed on the train and also the bomber. This is the crux of the time that he spends in what the movie calls “Source Code”. In the real world, Source Code is run by a physicist of sorts who considers it a revolutionary weapon in the war against terror. Telling anything else will be constituting spoilers, I would rest here.
Source Code has a bit of everything in there. Action, check. A bit of light hearted scenes, check. Drama, check. Romantic elements, check. The reason it works is that the director is aware that he has all of these to tag along with and he does so superbly. Not for a moment the story stops or take a breath, rather the director seems to tell the story through the actions of his protagonist. This makes for a taut thriller packed in 90 minutes run time.
The performances are commendable. Jack Gyllenhall turns in a believable and agile hero, one with which the audience connects. He is able to bring out the desperation plus he looks like an average Joe, for some reason. Michelle Monaghan also gives a good performance; her presence is there to provide for a little distraction from what is going on, apparently. Vera Fermiga plays the operative giving instructions to Gyllenhall’s character. The character is quite one dimensional and she does justice to it as fully as she can.
All in all, Duncan Jones has made another commendable feature film to follow his first attempt and if he continues to dazzle the audience like he has done so far, he may become a big name in years to come. A rare original film maker in the making in this world of remakes, reboots, comic book adaptations.