After the warm, eerie splendidness of ‘Moon’, all eyes were on Duncan Jones and his next big budget venture. Sophisticated time travel thriller ‘Source Code’ raises questions, but it’s still better than the rest…
Amazon: Source Code
What do you mean, you haven’t seen Moon? The first feature film by Duncan Jones (David Bowie’s son, born Zowie Bowie), Moon was a beautiful, heartful sci-fi thriller set on the stark landscape of the moon. A gorgeous package of beauty, sublime soundtrack, some of the best acting ever, great story AND a robot that echoed HAL in a Space Odyssey, there was, quite frankly, nothing wrong with it. It was so perfect that everyone was intrigued to see how Duncan Jones could ever hope to follow it up. Would he do even better with a big Hollywood budget behind him? Or would his next project be a horrible mess?
Source Code revisits Duncan Jones’ favourite themes: an alienated man struggling with who he is and having something of an existential crisis. Colter Stevens (played by Jake Gyllenhaal and his fantastically wolfy eyebrows) is a US army helicopter pilot. As he regains consciousness from a crash landing in Afghanistan, he finds himself – inexplicably – on a commuter train pulling into Chicago. On seeing his reflection in the window, it appears he is not in his own body, but someone else’s. The beautiful woman Christina (Michelle Monaghan) who sits in front of him appears to think she is a suburban teacher – and someone she knows very well. Yet Colter does not recall ever seeing her before in his life.
With increasing panic, Colter tries – and fails – to understand how he’s suddenly appeared on this train, in the body of a stranger. Even more confusingly, a catastrophe on board the train spins Colter into yet another impossible situation – he now finds himself back in army clothing, in a wrecked military pod of some kind, being talked to via video monitor by a woman who claims she is now his commanding officer.
Without revealing the plot too much, it transpires that Colter has been unwillingly volunteered for a futuristic army mission involving unusual technology referred to as “source code”. He will repeatedly relive an eight minute slot on this Chicago commuter train, in someone else’s body, until he discovers exactly what it is that the military need him to know.
This beautifully-crafted sci-fi thriller is not without its flaws. Namely, that the scientific conceit is a good one, but there are plot holes aplenty. It’s best not to think about the plot too hard or the whole thing falls apart. But don’t concern yourself with the getting there – it’s very much the journey that counts. Duncan Jones’ themes of identity, conspiracy and alienation are handled as evocatively as they are in Moon. This slick sci-fi thriller has far more warmth and quirk than its contemporary rival Inception, and very much makes Duncan Jones one to watch. It’s a pleasure to see a sophisticated big-budget take on the classic time travel story…
Amazon: Source Code
Tagged in: sci fi