Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Source Code Film Review

When I first saw the trailer for Source Code, I was deeply intrigued as to how the film would end, given the premise of the whole venture was set out, and indeed the ending is what this movie is all about.

Waking up on a train opposite a girl named Christina (Michelle Monaghan), Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) discovers that he isn't himself, but is controlling another man's body. As he panics, the train explodes and he returns to a capsule, where he is undergoing a mysterious mission, led by Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farminga) and Dr Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright), called the Source Code.

The Source Code is based on the idea that when someone dies, their memory of 8 minutes before their death is retained like the residue/halo of a light bulb that's just been switched off. Colter Stevens, through the Source Code, is made "relive" those eight minutes, described as "time reassignment", in order to find out who the bomber is and prevent a imminent second attack, but will his mysterious involvement with the Source Code and the distraction of a beautiful girl prevent him from completing this mission?

The pace of the film was pretty quick to begin with and we are told straight out what was happening and what Colter Stevens had to do. Whilst several failed attempts were inevitable to allow for Colter's experimentation of the Source Code physics and for the film to display explosion and action scenes, when the final successful attempt came, it was rather easy, far too easy, due to the fact that Colter has lived those 8 minutes again and again. 

Whilst mission completed should've been the explosive finale of the film, it isn't. Colter Stevens goes into the Source Code one more time in order to try and save Christina and everyone else on the train. Though told this isn't possible as the Source Code cannot change the present, Colter is determined to try.

There is also something beautiful about each time Colter goes into the Source Code. The slight differences, the new clues he gets each time and the information he discovers about himself and his situation, which is perhaps more intriguing than the action mission itself.

I love how the film kept everything very mysterious and how Goodwin seemed reluctant to tell Colter anything, like there is a secret. And there is, until it is revealed halfway through and I was like "WOW"... this revelation making the resolve even more dramatic and confusing, open to interpretation.

The film ends in such a way that it leads to much discussion, kind of like the Inception ending making everyone talk about it. So I just wanted to post what I thought and see what you think as well!

So Colter Stevens enters the Source Code one last time after finishing the mission. During this time, he calls his dad, sends an email to Goodwin and prevents the bombing of the train and the second bombing. At the end of the 8 minutes, time appears to freeze. In the present reality, Goodwin has switched off Colter's life support and Source Code was a success. The train exploded, Christina dies, but a second attack is prevented. 

However, it then shows time unfreezing. Colter (as Sean) and Christina get coffee together and supposedly live happily ever after. Now in the present reality, Sean and Christina are both dead, so this cannot be "real", although by preventing the bomb exploding, does it mean that Christina and Sean enter a different parallel universe? This could only be true if the Source Code allows you to change the past, in which case, their lives enter a different path of fork, avoiding death. 

The film states that the Source Code is "time reassignment" but surely this is all in the memory of dead Sean, so even if he could change the events and "save Christina", this would all be in Sean's mind, opposed to any reality.

The most confusing thing, is that as Goodwin goes to work the next morning, she receives Colter's email, which tells her the Source Code is successful and that they would be using [him] for a different mission. This is surely a different reality to the one where she directs Colter through the mission, as here, in this reality, the bomb was prevented without the use of the Source Code in this reality, though inadvertently, it was due to the Source Code in another reality that prevented this... 

So the question is, if Colter is alive and in which reality? Since he is dead, only his mental/spiritual (whatever you'd like to call it) is active. In one reality, his body is dead and therefore so must his brain (though according to Source Code law, his last 8 minutes could be relived - how mind blowing would that be!), but in another reality, his body is still alive, which must mean there are two parallel existences happening, much like the similarly confusing film, Deja Vu

What do you think?

Jake Gyllenhaal- Colter Stevens
Michelle Monaghan- Christina Warren
Vera Farminga- Colleen Goodwin
Jeffrey Wright- Dr Rutledge

Also stars Michael Arden.

Jake Gyllenhaal does a good job here, especially when he's inside the capsule- his pain and frustration appears genuine, though his performance on the train was somewhat lacklustre. I'm not sure if it's her character, but Michelle Monaghan keeps having that strange lusty expression on her face. I really liked Vera Farminga, she was so believable and you really wanted to know what she was hiding about the Source Code project. 

Source Code is a brilliant film masked as an action thriller, but underneath has so much depth, especially the shocking and confusing ending which deals with different parallel universes and so on. As the main mission was quick to be completed, the film places a focus on the ending and how different people interpret this, so I definitely feel the point of the film was to investigate the idea of "what you would do if you only had X time left to live" and the idea of parallel existences. A thought-provoking ending!

1 comment:

  1. I loved this film and can't wait to see it again. I think it's really good when films make you think like this long after they're finished - the way I saw it was that he did manage to change the past, taking the other fork in the road and creating a parallel existence. But now you mention it, any of those other possibilities could have happened as well! Interesting stuff :)


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