Source Code (12A)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byMatthew Turner01/04/2011

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 95 mins

Superbly directed, cleverly written and featuring a terrific central performance from Jake Gyllenhaal, this is an exciting, thought-provoking and emotionally engaging thriller that plays like Groundhog Day meets Quantum Leap with a dash of 24 thrown in for good measure.

What's it all about?
Directed by Duncan Jones (Moon), Source Code stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Colter Stevens, a helicopter pilot in Afghanistan who wakes up on a Chicago commuter train in another man's body, accompanied by a beautiful woman (Michelle Monaghan as Christina) who keeps calling him Sean. When the train explodes eight minutes later, Colter finds himself in another reality where he's questioned by an army officer (Vera Farmiga as Goodwin) before being sent back into Sean's body to relive the same eight minutes in order to find both the bomb and the bomber.

The Good
The performances are excellent: Jake Gyllenhaal is superb as Colter and there's strong support from Michelle Monaghan and the always-excellent Vera Farmiga, while Jeffrey Wright is clearly enjoying himself with a delightfully off-the-wall performance as grumpy Doctor Rutledge, the scientist behind the source code project. There's also a crowd-pleasing cameo of sorts that gives an affectionate nod towards one of the film's biggest influences, so keep a sharp eye on the cast list during the closing credits.

The cleverly written script has a lot of fun with the standard time travel tropes (repeatedly spilled cups of coffee and so on) but also delivers firmly on both the action sequences and the emotional element of the story as well as pulling off a couple of neat twists. It's also clear that the scriptwriter has watched both Quantum Leap and Groundhog Day more times than can strictly be considered healthy, but that turns out to be no bad thing.

The Great
It is fair to say that the film is not exactly without problems (one huge question goes frustratingly unanswered at the end) but at least they are the sort of problems that it's fun to argue about in the pub afterwards.

Worth seeing?
Source Code is a thoroughly entertaining, superbly acted sci-fi thriller that delivers on every level thanks to a smartly written script and pacey direction from Duncan Jones. Highly recommended.
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Source Code (12A)
Source Code has been reviewed by 6 users
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Content updated: 26/09/2018 16:26

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