Movie review: “Source Code” with Jake Gyllenhaal – a “Groundhog Day” with explosions

This entry was posted on 1.04.2011

The source code of this website will reveal a lot of information you probably don’t care about it – if you look at it, you will find out that it is based on WordPress for example or that it uses Google Analytics to track you down. None of these information has anything to do with the movie “Source Code” with Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan and Vera Farmiga in the leading roles. But it also isn’t really clear if “Source Code” is anything else than a very modern sounding title for a fairly classic Science Fiction flick.

In “Source Code”, Jake Gyllenhall is Colter Jones is a teacher from Chicago. Jones, an army pilot who who was in Afghanistan before, all of a sudden wakes up on a commuter train to Chicago opposite to a strange woman (Michelle Monaghan). A dream that feels very real, apparently.

He doesn’t have a lot of time to figure out how he ended here: Eight minute later the train explodes in an explosion – and Jones wakes up again, only to find himself in something that seems to be another bad dream, in a capsule like the ones they used in the old days of space travel.

What happened to him? Well, it has something to do with what they call the “Source Code”, but it is not Mark Zuckerberg who is explaining that. Instead a woman named Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) and her boss Dr. Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright) tell the soldier that he is on a special mission. The basic idea of this “secret government program”: He enters the brain of a person who just died and whose last eight minutes of existence he can relive and ultimately alter. (Hey – we’ve seen in “The Men Who Stare At Goats” what strange things the US government does, so who knows?). Colters mission: To find the bomb and the terrorist who threatens to vaporize Chicago with another dirty bomb.

What follows is an updated version of “Goundhog Day” with a huge explosion at the end. Director Duncan Jones (David Bowie’s son, by the way) lets Gyllenhaal go through that train ride again and again. Where is the bomb? How can he dismantle it? Who might be the terrorist? And how could he stop him? Of course there’s more to it, but telling that might spoil the movie.

There aren’t any big surprises in “Source Code”. Nothing you will see here hasn’t been told in one way or another before, no special effect will blow your mind away. The film leaves that to the poor people on the train. But the three levels of the story give “Source Code” enough deepness to easily entertain you for one and a half hour. And what else do you ask for from a blockbuster action flick?

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