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Gyllenhaal's Strengths Evident in 'Source Code.'

Photo of Eric Kohn By Eric Kohn | Eric Kohn November 23, 2010 at 9:51AM

I wasn't too wild about the Jake Gyllenhaal-Anne Hathaway vehicle "Love and Other Drugs," which I wrote about in this new essay for indieWIRE, but let me clear: I have an affinity for both of those actors. Hathaway's bold willingness to play against her star persona with her icky rehab-bound character in "Rachel Getting Married" proved she can really inhabit the skin of a persona, no matter how unpleasant. And Gyllenhaal has always impressed me as the rare leading man to combine youthful vitality with a mysterious dark side, as he displayed in performances ranging from "Donnie Darko" to "Brokeback Mountain." Now comes "Source Code," director Duncan Jones's highly anticipated follow-up to the Sundance hit "Moon," which was the rare actor's movie that also managed to play well for the fanboy crowd. With "Moon," Jones gave Sam Rockwell one of his best roles by simply allowing to talk to himself for ninety minutes. The ambitious theatricality of the set-up merged with the coolness of the premise. A flashier, more expensive effort, "Source Code" looks like a tougher trick for Jones to pull off, as the trailer suggests a supreme high concept: "Run Lola Run" meets...I don't know, "The Matrix"? But the point is that Gyllenhaal looks pretty great in it -- frightened, confused, and hopelessly driven against impossible odds.
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I wasn't too wild about the Jake Gyllenhaal-Anne Hathaway vehicle "Love and Other Drugs," which I wrote about in this new essay for indieWIRE, but let me clear: I have an affinity for both of those actors. Hathaway's bold willingness to play against her star persona with her icky rehab-bound character in "Rachel Getting Married" proved she can really inhabit the skin of a persona, no matter how unpleasant. And Gyllenhaal has always impressed me as the rare leading man to combine youthful vitality with a mysterious dark side, as he displayed in performances ranging from "Donnie Darko" to "Brokeback Mountain." Now comes "Source Code," director Duncan Jones's highly anticipated follow-up to the Sundance hit "Moon," which was the rare actor's movie that also managed to play well for the fanboy crowd. With "Moon," Jones gave Sam Rockwell one of his best roles by simply allowing to talk to himself for ninety minutes. The ambitious theatricality of the set-up merged with the coolness of the premise. A flashier, more expensive effort, "Source Code" looks like a tougher trick for Jones to pull off, as the trailer suggests a supreme high concept: "Run Lola Run" meets...I don't know, "The Matrix"? But the point is that Gyllenhaal looks pretty great in it -- frightened, confused, and hopelessly driven against impossible odds.

That wouldn't matter much if "Source Code" didn't look like a pretty wild temporal experience, but this could indeed be an ideal match of performer and subject. I like:

Over at the indieWIRE main site, Peter Knegt suspects it may show up at Sundance.

This article is related to: New Releases, Independent Cinema, New Media