Nicely directed and well acted, the "science" of the sci-fi part of the story makes very little sense
Being an avid sci-fi fan, one should not watch recent sci-fi movies with high expectations. They are rarely good. They rarely make sense. And they rarely obey the rules of sci-fi. As a result you would see 9 bad sci-fi movies and 1 good. There’s often no middle ground for this genre. You either hate them, or you love them. Surprisingly, “Source Code” manages to stay in the middle.
You wake up in a moving train. Your name is Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal). Yet, the girl next to you (Michelle Monaghan) calls you a different name and continues a conversation you can’t understand. You don’t know how you got there. Random people pass by, you try to figure out whats going on. You see reflection of yourself in the mirror, and its not the face you are familiar with. You start freaking out, thinking you are in a dream or possibly gone mad, but then BOOM! the train explodes. And you wake up trapped in a some kind of capsule and being greeted by not so friendly Captain Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) from the soulless LCD monitor. You fight for the truth and you find out that you have been on a secret government mission. The train “dream” you just had was memories of one of the passengers on the train. There has been a terrorist attack on the train and you are assigned to relive the last 8 minutes of memories of that passenger and find whoever planted the bomb and prevent his next attack. And you will have to relive this “dream” unless you complete your objective.
Jake Gyllenhaal does a good job portraying character stuck with seemingly unsolvable problem. His challenge includes gradual change from “WTF?!” state into “I’m gonna solve this” state, which he achieves with great performance. He is fully engaged. This is very important for this role. I also enjoyed the character of Michelle Monaghan. I really loved the decision of not using super-sexy actress, but instead someone cute and more believable to be riding the train and having interaction with main character. And I finally witnessed Vera Farmiga, which I personally dislike as an actress, in a role that actually gives her a positive side I could relate to. She needs more roles like this.
Film has been directed by Duncan Jones, whose previous film “Moon” I found really interesting and innovative. He uses fast cuts and edits to tell us the story, and yet these edits don’t intercept with the storytelling. Usually, in this situation you will find shaky camera and overdone hyperactivity perception. Very fortunately, I should say, Jones manages to keep these technical tricks that create uneasiness and engagement, at hand, not letting it overflow and ruin the picture. In return, all these creates a proper environment where you just sit and enjoy whatever happens on the screen.
Unfortunately, THAT I can’t say about the story. Scientific part remains mostly unexplained, I guess, because screenwriters themselves couldn’t make their mind how exactly this stuff suppose to work. So they just throw in into the air for us to swallow and just live with that. I did enjoy some random twists throughout the plot, they did play very well, but, I’ll be damned if some of the stuff did make sense without going deep into science fiction realm and dealing with a suspense of disbelief. Nevertheless, I did feel most of the viewers will not be bugged about it much, so I just closed my eyes on the matter and just enjoyed the movie.