In the desperate search for decent movies you can take most anyone to at this time of year, I finally found one that works—- Source Code, and thus far it is my favorite movie of a year filled with bombs. This movie isn’t a bomb but it is about a bomb, and there are so many reviewers who like it so much that it seems to be ‘the bomb’ in the theaters just now, if you catch my drift. Among other things, this movie proves that you don’t have to understand the science in a sci fi thriller to enjoy a movie.
First of all this movie is short (only one hour and 34 minutes) has a PG-13 rating due to the occasional explosion and vivid image I guess, and has some fine acting in it— Vera Farmigia (you may remember her star turn in Up in the Air) plays an Air Force officer named Claire Goodwin who is running a source code, connected to the brain of a nearly dead Jake Gyllenhaal playing Colter Stevens helicopter pilot who went down in Afghanistan and was partially salvaged. Michelle Monaghan plays the very fetching girl on the train, Christina Warren, and Jeffrey Wright plays Dr. Rutledge looking for all the world like a member of the Mission Impossible team. Yes, you have to suspend your disbelief at various points in regard to this movie. It’s sort of Ground Hog Day meets the A Train Bomber meets How Harry met Sally. Something for everyone— a thriller wrapped in a sci fi flick wrapped in a romance. Don’t ask too many questions about the science.
The basic premise of the movie, set in Chicago, is that there is a crazy person planning to blow up a major portion of downtown Chi town with a van load sized dirty bomb. But first he will blow up the commuter train heading east into Chicago. The idea is to send the brain of Capt. Stevens back in time into an unassuming school teacher (their profiles match) on the train, to find the bomb and the bomber on the train and get his name before he blows up the city itself. The idea is that while the train explosion which just happened can’t be stopped, the future could be altered if the whack job is intercepted after the train blows up. Are you following this?Capt. Stevens has to keep going back and going back until he gets it right. Each time he has a total of eight minutes and each iteration is a little different. But there is this little problem of a distraction— the beautiful Christina. One little science tidbit— at the point of death, the electrical circuit in the brain keeps going for eight minutes and you continue to have memories. This presumably is the eight minutes being recycled over and over in Steven’s brain who is kept alive in a lab by machinery. Dat’s all I know.
While the plot may sound convoluted, the movie itself is very straight forward and action packed, with no filler in the thriller. There are really no sub-plots, and the philosophical implications of altering the past and thereby altering the future are not explored. It’s not a deep dish kind of movie, but it is a fun thrill ride for an afternoon in April, and I can very much recommend it.
I must confess I have not been that impressed with Mr. Jake’s acting abilities before this movie, but in this film he shows a range of emotions and delivers his lines quite effectively. As for Vera, I would watch her play almost anything— even Lady Gaga. She nearly steals the show. I will not spoil the ending for you, but this one the whole family will find intriguing and fun, except perhaps very young children who will be lost in the plot. But heck, I got lost in the quantum physics, shadow universes, and time travel as well and yet I was perfectly willing to suspend my questions and enjoy the ride—- I suspect you will be willing to do so as well.