Monday, April 4, 2011

Source Code

Source Code

The new technology based time-travelling thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan and Vera Farmiga.  Opened April 1st, 2011.

Seeing this is the first film I'll be reviewing for Sqwerm I'd like to detail my process up front, to avoid any "huh", "what" moments.

The way I see movie reviews in general is a very subjective medium that everyone and their brothers and sisters, and sister-girlfriends sister's put together.  The reason for this mass interest in movie reviews is that it's not as hard as those who do it professionally would like to convince you otherwise. 

For this reason you can find everything from blurbs on, to in-depth reviews on numerous other source-sites.  Since the user can easily do a google search, and find the review for whichever film they're considering laying down the forty or fifty dollars that the cinema will likely extract from them after all is said and done; I'd like to just get my take down, on record, a little differently than the others.

While I certainly, on most occasions, will not be as detailed or thorough as the long review, I will put a little more into then the blurbs and five word reviews found in cyberland.  This all stated, lets get into the Source Code.

Before heading down to the local Regal, a few blocks from my home, I often try to get myself into the mood of whichever film I'll be seeing that afternoon.  This time was no different.  I thought the previews did a pretty good job explaining the gist of the premise, without giving away the interesting details.  I knew this would be a film about a soldier who would be travelling back into the body of another man for the last eight minutes of that man's life, all in an attempt to curtail or stop domestic terrorist activity.  I knew there would be a bit of romance between Gyllenhaal and Monaghan's characters.  And I knew something would be some bit of conflict going on between Gyllenhaal and Vera Farmiga's characters.  All this worked out, except what they didn't tell you was that there really was a lot more going on thematically in this film.  You can find a trailer at

So I knew there would be a sort of Groundhog Day thing going on, and wondered if they'd do a good job with the repeating scenarios or if it would simply make for an overly repetitive experience. 

To the film itself.  For starters I'll say the repetition was well done.  Bits of new information would appear as Colter Stevens travelled his way back into Sean Frentiss in each eight minute interval.  There were elements that they had to keep each time, but they put them in there in a neat way.  An example, A woman would walk by and spill coffee on Steven's shoe.  Later in the film, Stevens would give the lady a head's up, and watch her step.  Also pay close attention to the flashbacks that repeat each time Gyllenhaal gets transported back to the present day.  I'm not going to spoil it for you, but there is something in the flashback that is off and you'll later find out as the movie finishes up. 

The main themes in this film I saw were, The ability to Play God, What's good for the Goose..., Remorse and Repent, and Simply doing the right thing.

The ability to play God is not stated, however anytime something significant about going back and changing events in time, the idea must pop into your head.  A perfect way I find analyzing such impossible questions with no correct answer is to look at it as what would happen if no one tried, what then would or could happen.?  And what are we really supposed to do?  Is there a reason for this ability or tactic as being conceived, or is it all a test?  Anyhow, I may get a bit more thought provoked than the average viewer, but I think it's an important notion to mention.

Another unstated element to this film regards Business vs Employees so to speak.  Is the right for the worker outweighed by the future for the organization.  It's very subtle, and I'm towing a fine line without spoiling anything but after you see the film, just think for a minute, what reason could the head research scientist have for some of the decisions he makes on Steven's behalf, despite a repeated favoring towards a very different direction by the Capt.

Remorse is shown through Steven's own family shortcomings, and his drive towards helping those people on the train really reflect his need to atone for what he felt as a major dissapoint in his own life.

Doing the right thing falls squarely on the shoulders of Vera Farmiga's character, Goodwin.  She is posed with doing her job, obeying direct orders or doing what is right for another human being(s).

Altogether it played out well.  Could they have done things a bit differently and perhaps added a little more oomph at times?  Sure, but the same can be said about a lot of other films, and should not detract for the quality of what was made.

I'd reccomend this film for anyone who enjoys films with suspenseful overtones amongst a mystery, or for those who enjoy science fiction without out too much of what is typically included in its genre.

The next film I'm looking to see is Hanna, which opens pretty soon.  For more information and traditional styled reviews for Source Code or others, you can visit,, and also, a personal favorite for all things film.

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