movie review: Source Code

Reviews
by Leonard Maltin
April 2, 2011 1:13 AM
8 Comments
  • |

Source Code is perfectly agreeable entertainment, so long as you don’t ask too much of it. It has an intriguing science-fiction premise that hints at deeper issues but, in truth, the movie doesn’t want to disturb us or make us think too much.

Duncan Jones didn’t write the screenplay—which is credited to Ben Ripley—but it bears a passing resemblance to his debut feature Moon, in that its protagonist (Jake Gyllenhaal) spends much of the film communicating with an authority figure (Vera Farmiga) over a telecommunication system. As part of an experimental military program he is—

—transported, over and over again, to a Chicago commuter train that’s about to be firebombed. That’s where he meets Michelle Monaghan and comes to care about her.

All of the leading actors acquit themselves well, including Jeffrey Wright as the brains behind the daring experiment in what he calls “time reassignment,” rather than time travel. The fact that Ripley’s screenplay gives its secondary characters some substance is refreshing.

Given that Source Code deals with domestic terrorism, and life-and-death issues, I wish I had felt more invested in its outcome. I also wish the filmmakers had stuck with their first ending, instead of the two others that follow it in rapid succession. They should have had more faith in their audience.

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8 Comments

  • Patrick M. Gouin | September 5, 2011 1:29 AMReply

    A very good Hollywood thriller. A mix of science fiction, parallel universes and time travel. Very effective. Probably precursor to a sequel or a television series.
    7/10

  • Paul | June 16, 2011 4:42 AMReply

    If the science fiction in this wonderfully entertaining film made sense, then it would not be science fiction, but science. One has to emerse themselves in the fiction with the understanding that it is fiction, not science. The enjoyment of a science fiction movie lies is in it's originality or far fetched ideas. I don't know about anybody else, but I go to a science fiction movie to be transported into the movie's reality and it's story with the hope of being greatly entertained in the process, and this film succeeds on every level.

  • Linda | April 5, 2011 7:44 AMReply

    I saw this film yesterday and I liked it. I thought it had an interesting take on going back to a moment in time and trying to figure out who the bomber was.

    the ending didn't disappoint me I thought it was an interesting direction.

  • Bobby B | April 4, 2011 3:59 AMReply

    My wife kind of drug me to this movie, as I had already decided I didn't want to see a sci-fi "Groundhog Day". Turns out I liked it. I even got sucked into the romance, which developed oh so slowly, between Gyllenhaal and Monaghan, over the replay of each 8 minute segment. Of course the movie only works if you don't try to understand the underlying voodoo-science -- like how did they retrieve this 8 minute memory from the teacher on the train, the guy that Gyllenhaal kept channeling? Yes, they could have ended the movie sooner, but it wasn't a deal breaker.

  • Old Timer | April 3, 2011 11:36 AMReply

    I can see why Mr. Maltin said what he did. While I thought it was a very good movie, the ending left me a bit disappointed. There was a point that they could have cut it a few minutes before the actual end.
    Nevertheless, it was a very entertaining and exciting movie and Jake Gylenhall was great.
    Groundhog Day meets The Matrix.

  • K | April 3, 2011 7:27 AMReply

    Leonard can you or anyone else reading explain why you feel the final scenes demonstrate a lack of faith in the audience by the filmmakers? To me they simply serve to raise deeper questions about the true nature of the experiment and the dubious morals of Wright's character.

  • Jason | April 3, 2011 5:46 AMReply

    It is a shame when a filmmaker forgets that the audience can think for themselves. Kind of makes an impersonal movie experience no matter how clever or cool the filmmakers think they are being.

  • Brett | April 2, 2011 5:11 AMReply

    I don't understand critics who disliked this film.

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