Colter Stevens is a wartime hero, who, through obscure movie science viz., “parabolic calculus,” is able to relive eight minutes of another man’s life. There, Stevens finds himself traveling on a train with a cast of idiosyncratic passengers. At the end of the eight minutes, the train goes up in a fiery ball of terrorism, and Stevens awakes in a cold, mechanical contraption resembling a spaceship. It’s here that he is reluctantly given a set of instructions to find the sleepy-time bomber and save the city of Chicago from future annihilation, by repeating said interval ad nauseum.
This film never really pays off, even though Duncan Jones’ aesthetic and Jake Gylenhaal’s acting will locomote you to the denouement without as much suffering as could be present in a film structured around repetition. But why blame the ending, which could be a passable conclusion to some other movie? For all the traveling that takes place in Source Code, there’s no sensible emotional journey. Neither is there a meaningful commentary, beyond what you might extract from a cheap fortune cookie.
That said, there is a detective element, a mention of quantum mechanics, explosions, a terrorist, a love interest, and there are appeals to family, support-the-troops-ism, and antiscience. So, if you like that stuff, kick off the summer movie season with some obnoxiously loud movie snack, like nachos, and Source Code.
- Source Code (Jones 2011) @ Sundance Kabuki Cinemas