Source Code Review

By: Jim Weekes
Rating: 8.5 out of 10

When director Duncan Jones came onto the scene in 2009 with his indie hit Moon, people immediately began comparing its originality to 2001: A Space Odyssey and other Science fiction classics. The success was unexpected but well deserved. Moon was an original and suspenseful science fiction thriller about a clone who discovers who he is and breaks the chains that keep him in line. So naturally, after such a successful debut, people are going to be paying extra attention to the anticipated second film.  Duncan Jones does not disappoint with Source Code.

The film centers around an army captain named Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) who finds himself in a top secret program (without knowledge of how he came to be there) that allows him to relive the last 8 minutes of a specific person’s life. In this instance Stevens lives through a man on a doomed passenger train. Stevens must continually live vicariously through this man’s final minutes to find the terrorist bomber behind the plot that lead to the death of all the train’s passengers.

This may sound similar to films like Déjà Vu, but Source Code executes this familiar premise far better than Scott’s film. The film has excellent use of editing and shots and everything is put together so well to keep you engaged. Things start to get hectic (in a good way) as the film progresses and just like Moon, the films main twist reveals itself during the middle of the film as opposed to the end.

 The only issue with Source Code is that it just doesn’t know when to end. There were so many moments where I was mentally shouting, “CUT TO BLACK!…ROLL CREDITS!” but that moment just never seemed to come at the times it felt most appropriate. Had the film ended 10 minutes earlier, it would still be equally as good, maybe better. It’s a shame because the film tries so hard in its final minutes to complicate itself more than it really is; it’s trying to be an inception when it’s not, and that stinks because its complications don’t even really make that much sense. 

In other words, it didn’t quit while it was ahead. I could have left feeling satisfied but instead I left disoriented and heavily confused.  I think I even walked into a wall after exiting the theater. 

Although the film has its faults, be assured that this film is still leagues ahead of some of the other garbage that comes out these days. It’s definitely a must see if you’re looking for a good/ thought provoking film. It’s no masterpiece but it’s no sophomore slump either. Also, if you haven’t seen Moon, do so now.


37 thoughts on “Source Code Review

  1. I completely agree with you. I saw Source Code this weekend with high expectations because it had received great reviews across the board. I kept thinking, wow, this is a pretty good movie, I love the idea, bla bla bla. But after the big twists were revealed, I kept thinking, OK, time to end, right? But no, over and over again, MORE kept happening, kept complicating the story. The last 10 minutes were maybe the most frustrating for me to watch, and after that, I was like, it just feels like they were TRYING to make the movie something it wasn’t. I liked the fact that she shut him down, but I didn’t understand how it was possible for the other reality to collide with the current/future reality, and how it was possible AT ALL for him to stay within Sean’s body. It just didn’t make sense, and when you leave a hole that big at the very end of what was a pretty good movie, you almost leave more dissatisfied and frustrated, versus happy and wowed.

    • The ending is not intended to make logical sense; it is a statement on the power of intention, that we are in turn shaping the reality in which we live. And when we live with belief in that intention – that we are integral parts of this existence – we can in fact “create a new world”, as Captain Stevens (now Sean Fentress) says to Goodwin. It is also an exploration into the nature of life and the concept of death.

      I feel confident in this because I read about the director, Duncan Jones, and he has a PhD in Philosophy. This does not mean he has all the answers, it means he knows which answers we do and don’t have and is willing to explore the nature of all this despite the fear it can stir up within us.

      I am thankful for every single aspect of that movie. It has something to offer everyone.

  2. I also didn’t understand how he was able to stay in Sean’s body. That means that everyone else got to keep living in an alternate reality, except for Sean because Colter took over his mind. I definitley think the film should have stopped during the freeze scene of everyone laughing and being happy. I was expecting it to end there. The rest just felt like they were trying to be confusing or trying to hard to make it into something it wasn’t.

    • Yeah, staying in Sean’s body. What they SHOULD have said was that quantum physics suggests that there are an infinite number of parallel universes. What the machine managed to do is send coulter to another, similar, parallel universe and back. Coulter was actually in another universe generating a new universe at every choice point. In the end, he just stayed in the final parallel universe.

      • This was what they implied and intended to be picked up by the viewer who wanted to see it. Captain Stevens said, “I called you this morning- go see that you were paged at 7:48 AM”. And Dr. Rutledge said, “even if that phone call went through, the me that would receive it would be a different one entirely.” He did not say that he wouldn’t exist in that reality- he said it would be a different ‘him’.

        Did you notice that each time he re-entered Sean Fentress, that it was not the 8 minutes that stopped him from living but that he was being killed? The two times he was not on the train when the bomb exploded, he was able to witness the explosion and stay alive for at least several seconds after. They just wanted this to be subtle so you wouldn’t pick up that they were all alternate realities until the end when he is neither killed nor the bomb explodes. Then in the end, he continues on living in that reality.

        There is so much more to all this at the end, because in the new reality the train bomber was thwarted on the train before either bomb went off, but Captain Stevens still had another mission to go on that day with Goodwin. The most thematic and beautiful part of that movie is that he tells her to remind him that “everything will be okay”.

  3. I’m not really a Jake Gyllenhaal fan, but I like the premise of this movie. I may actually go see it now…only because of your review, though, so you better be telling the truth! 😉

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

  4. Meh. Not bad, not that good either. The whole science fiction aspect of it was lame. SF plot lines should have a little credibility; you know, the S part of SF. Inception was much better.

  5. I think the last movie I saw at the cinema was How to Train Your Dragon. I agree the movie industry is sucking lately; even the movie industry itself has said it is sucking. I wonder what is causing the gonzo in showbiz? Moon, you say. I’ll check that out.

  6. Yes, I agree with you! I saw the movie this weekend, and for some reason had ‘Inception’ in my mind. I knew what was happening in this movie, atleast I thought I understood the plot, but the ending confused me. I still need to read wiki or wherever to figure out, ‘I thought when he’s out of the life support, he should be dead, right? then did he just go back to that ‘imaginative time’? The ending really got my scratching my head!

  7. I’ll definitely have to check this out. When I first heard about the movie I thought it would fall flat but the critics seem to like the movie. Thanks for the review!

  8. I really hope you’re okay after walking into that wall. I used my special machine to go relive the eight minutes before you injured yourself. Unfortunately, it was during the last eight minutes of Source Code and I got really confused and totally forgot about my original mission. Sorry about that.

  9. I totally agree with you. It was a good film but it just kept going. I had the same “CUT TO BLACK!” experience. Good review. Congrats on freshly pressed!

  10. Did you know that Duncan Jones is David Bowie’s son? He was born Zowie Bowie but later changed his name to the more mundane Duncan…. (JOnes being David Bowie’s real last name..) Have not seen the movie yet, but based on your review and everyone’s comments- cannot wait!

  11. anything with Jake Gyllenhaal has been good so far. I’ll prolly walk out of the theatre once the twist has been revealed. Thanks for the warning 😀

  12. Liked the film…but have to agree with the end. I enjoyed it as well in a way…but would have worked better in a sense having left some things alone.
    I loved the that the voice of his father was someone so familiar and appropriate! 🙂

  13. the ending was whack period. it made no sense and twas predictable he would end up with christina.

  14. I really enjoyed this movie, i knew something good will happen. I liked the film but the end, really didn’t make sense at all. I’ll rate this movie a 9/10 because the end didn’t make sense I thought he will continue his life but when i found out that this was kinda like a story that will continue, but he keeps on dieing I’m like “What !?

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