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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Source Code - 2011

Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) is an american soldier who wakes up in the body of a man he does not know. On a train to who knows where, his last memory is of him flying a helicopter in Afghanistan. He looks in the mirror and sees a different man, and after only 8 minutes in the train it explodes. Stevens then wakes up in some form of a pod, and is informed by a woman named Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) that he is the main part of a mission to find the bomb, and bomber that is in the Chicago commuter train. Stevens is now sent back into the world to continue gathering clues with only 8 minutes each time, but now the bomber is threatening to blow up millions of people in downtown Chicago. And along with his friend Christina Warren (Michelle Monaghan) he will learn more and more each time he visits this world, and must hurry before it is all too late.

Well, Duncan Jones has done it again! I just recently saw his debut "Moon" for the first time, and loved it. My expectations were not all that high for this film, but I was really hoping that it would be good. It is always exciting for me when a new director comes out with a great film, and this being his second it could be showing us a sign as to how consistent he will be for the rest of his career. Source Code was in no way as good, or even close really, as Moon was. However, it was going to be hard for him to top the near perfect Moon, and Source Code still showed the viewers that Duncan Jones has a serious directing ability. With having both great creativity and a pace that whether slow or quick, he keeps the viewer interested till the end.

Source Code in some ways rivals Nolan's newest film, "Inception". There is no reason to knock Source Code because its lack of creativity, because that is not the case here. Source Code resembles Inception in the way that Inception resembled The Matrix. The stories and plots are not similar, but the whole concept of going in and out of a different worlds throughout the film is the same. All three films share this, though it does not make any of them less creative. They are all different in their own way. But if we are comparing both Source Code and Inception, there honestly is no comparison. My ratings may be close, but Source Code is a borderline 6/10. The biggest difference is the lengths of the two films, and since Inception is much longer the story is developed better than it is in Source Code. And that was probably my biggest problem with this film, which is a problem it shares with Jones' other work. From start to finish Source Code is a quickly paced film that keeps the audience drawn in close to the screen. But it is so short and having a bit lacked character developement that by the end we may not care about the characters, and what happens with the story, as we should. But everything was developed enough for the film to work out, which it did, it is just that in films that I love I usually need more developement and length for me to consider it a wonderful peice of art work. But even still, Duncan Jones has crafted an above average film that is smart, and with quick direction it hits home by the climax.

The script would probably be my only other complaint, as it was both good and bad. At times I thought the dialogue was going very well. But at others, especially nearing the end, it felt a little cheese filled. It is not something really worth losing sleep over but, I definitely think screenwriter Ben Ripley could have done a better job on that area of the film. Just in general though Ripley did an excellent job of writing this film. Along with Jones' work all of the scenes were very well written, and very well done. Maybe a few flaws there, but still a great job by the both of them.

Now for the acting. This was a surprise for me, and I mean a big surprise. He may have acting talent, but Jake Gyllenhaal is an actor I just do not like at all. None of his films really interest me, and his acting style just does not seem to fit my taste. But here, what a surprise he was. The emotion he put into this performance was very good. Even some well known, and acclaimed actors can feel dull when there are certain scenes. But Gyllenhaal hits the mark perfectly here. Now I am not saying he will get any kind of Oscar nomination, because I would be absolutely shocked if he did, but still a great performance. Michelle Monaghan was good as well, not worth much praise, but she fit the part well. The other supporting actors did good. Just good acting all around really, and it made the film so much better.

Overall, Source Code is an extremely impressive second film by Duncan Jones. After leaving the theater I was very happy and excited to see what he will come out with next. Let's get this straight though, Source Code is a highly entertaining, quickly paced film that is no where near perfection. But movies are made to entertain, and that is just what this does. Quick direction by Duncan Jones and mostly good writing by Ben Ripley, along with good performances made Source Code the best film I have seen released this year. It may not be amazing, or as good as Moon, but Source Code kept me interested all the way through, and worked out well in the end. Duncan Jones is on my list for new and brilliant directors. Look out for his name in the future, you will see it a lot.

Story: 6/10
Writing: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Direction: 8/10
Visuals: 7/10

Final Rating: 7/10

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