Thursday, April 7, 2011

Source Code [2011]

Director: Duncan Jones
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright
Genre: Science Fiction/Thriller
Rating: General
Comment: "Never before had a Sci-Fi Thriller contain so many human elements, and this ended up becoming a terrific movie altogether..."

In a universe where the technology to become a somewhat omniscient entity exists, decorated army helicopter pilot Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) finds himself inside the body of another man. Severely disoriented, he slowly begin to make sense of what is going on and discovers that he is part of a military mission to stop a terrorist attack on a commuter train. What makes it even harder is the fact that he only has eight minutes to conduct his investigation before the bomb explodes, and he has to do it all over again...

What to Expect
1. An intriguing story that will simply absorb you
2. Subtle yet powerful human drama
3. To get just a little bit disoriented as well
4. Some genuine comedic moments
5. Russell Peters (Yes, the Russell Peters) to steal a couple of scenes

What NOT to Expect
1. Emphasis on the terrorism part of the plot
2. Offensive stereotype of a terrorist *wink*
Brilliant! Definitely one of this year's movies that you wouldn't want to miss!

If there's one thing you'll hear a lot about this movie, it would be how people are comparing it to the Harold Ramis classic, Groundhog Day [1993] starring Bill Murray. I urge you to stop reading into it that way because you would be doing a disservice to this very satisfying science fiction thriller. I'm not taking anything away from Groundhog Day, though. That movie was hilarious. But aside from the similar plot device, these two have nothing in common.

If anything, Source Code did to its genre what The Dark Knight [2008] did to the superhero genre; rise above them, making you forget that it was an almost genre-specific movie to begin with.

As always, I am not one to draw comparisons whenever I review a movie. But for the sake of explanation, this one has that similar disjointed way of telling its story - often seen in the works of Christopher Nolan - you can't help but be drawn to the story, empathising with the protagonist who struggles to connect the dots.

Which brings us to yet another pleasant thing about the plot. There was a mild whodunit feel to it. Now, I have said earlier that there isn't much emphasis on the terrorism part of the story, but don't you go about saying that it is a flaw, because the focus here is really about Stevens' attempts to thwart the terrorist plot.  In other words, this is not a political thriller.

One last thing, is the surprisingly touching human drama in the midst of it all. I shall not say much on the matter because that would mean I am giving away integral parts of the plot. Let's just say that there was a lot of depth to the characters than usually found in movies that incorporate strong elements of Science fiction.

Should you go see it?
Most definitely. Like I said, the movie felt surprisingly... complete. Jake Gyllenhaal was brilliant in this one, as were the leading ladies, Michelle Monaghan and Vera Farmiga. Solid plot with masterful storytelling, and plenty of tasteful humour throughout, this one I would shortlist as one of the best in 2011.

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