Friday, September 16, 2011

Source Code on DVD (2011)

This was one of those movies that I stumbled upon while browsing Netflix, and it just sounded interesting to me. Source Code is science fiction, telling the story of an army pilot, Colter Stevens, who wakes in a spacey-looking capsule to find an unfamiliar face on a screen giving him orders to re-enter the dream he's just had. In fact, his mission is to re-enter the 8-minute dream as many times as it takes to find the bomber that exploded a train in Chicago earlier that day and is planning another attack. The dream takes Stevens into the mind of one of the men on that train just before the explosion.

But here are the catches. Stevens doesn't remember how he got into the capsule or where he is, and his mission controllers aren't giving him many hints. And then there's the pretty woman he keeps waking up to on the train. Each 8 minutes that he has, he gets to know her better, and he wants to save her life. But the source code, where his mind goes to solve the mystery, isn't like that, he's told. The events have already happened; he can't save her life. As Stevens begins to realize the truth, he finds purpose and focus and rises to the challenge of what he must do.

This movie is a little like a serious version of Groundhog Day, where one man keeps living the same scenario over and over. But it's fascinating, not boring. Each time is a little different, especially as he makes different choices. And the characters are fantastic. Jake Gyllenhaal plays Stevens. Vera Farmiga plays Goodwin, the lady behind the screen who sends him on his missions and begins to get attached, despite all efforts to maintain distance and secrecy. Michelle Monaghan is Christina, the girl on the train. And the set is minimal: mostly the train and a couple rooms in a top-secret military operations base. It all adds up to great sci-fi...until the end. The end is better than I thought it would be, but at the same time, it's a little "timey-wimey" as the Doctor would say. And while Dr. Who can get away with that, a serious hour-and-a-half movie cannot as easily. My husband and I have differing viewpoints about what really happens in the end. Regardless, it's an interesting, fun sci-fi thriller with a PG-13 rating for intense scenes, violence, and just a little language. I found the rating appropriate. Three and a half stars.

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