Thursday, 21 July 2011

Source Code (film review)

Source Code is certainly one of, if not the most, fascinating films of 2011 so far; mixing thriller, science fiction and drama. Combining it with a plot which places the protagonist in another reality attempting to complete a almost impossible task. Sound familiar? Well, yes. This is what Inception would be like if it had a considerably smaller budget and was more a detective flick than an action film.  There are also considerable differences in its characters and story aspects.
Colter, Jake Gyllenhaal, is on his own besides a Metal Gear Solid style support team, and has no idea what he’s doing throughout the first part of the film. Whereas Leonardo DiCaprio’s character had an entire team supporting him in Inception, a direct plan to follow and had very different motives.
The reason such a big point is being made about this is because upon leaving the cinema a lot of the audience were complaining about how “it has all been done before” and was a “poor man’s Inception.” The two really can’t be compared and if you spend the entire film trying to draw comparisons you’re going to ruin the whole experience of watching it.
So what’s the film about? Helicopter pilot Colter Stevens, awakens on a train heading for Chicago speaking to a stranger who apparently knows him and wearing another man’s face. The train then explodes and he awakens in an enclosed cell with a woman giving him orders over a radio. He’s confused, as is the audience, and much of the film is spent watching him get answers. Besides that I can’t reveal much more about the plot without ruining the whole experience.
Jake Gyllenhaal does a great job as the confused and partially terrified protagonist and his emotive performance gives the audience good reason to care about him. Duncan Jones sticks to his guns, directing the film in a similar manner to 2009’s Moon. Building the film solidly around a small cast, creating questions and generally making everyone confused as all hell until the end. The secondary cast, most notably Michelle Monaghan and Jeffry Wright, deliver solid performances but aren’t really given enough to work with. Also Quantum Leap fans should keep an eye out for the nod to that series.
The film only has two major flaws. The first being its villain, a disturbed man played by Michael Arden who is trying to hold onto his film career after appearing in the 2009 train wreck Bride Wars. While Arden tries his hardest with the role, the character is given one of the most laughably clich├ęd motivations possible.  In addition to this those I went to see the film with all agreed it went on for ten minutes longer than it needed to. The feel of the ending is very out of place from the rest of the film. These are minor gripes though, and they do not detract from the experience of watching Source Code.
The DVD release is on the 26th of this month in the United States and 26th of August in the UK. Buy it, you won't regret seeing it.
Source Code and all related characters and media are owned by Summit Entertainment.

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