Thursday, April 28, 2011

Take My Advice

Release: 04.01.11
Rated PG-13
1 hour, 33 minutes

See It, Take a Friend, Buy the DVD!

Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal, Jarhead) awakes on a Chicago commuter train opposite Christina (Michelle Monaghan, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) who has mistaken him as her friend, Sean. After several confusing minutes, the train explodes and Stevens once again awakes; this time in some sort of military issue simulator.

Captain Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga, The Departed) explains to Stevens he is part of the Source Code, a program wherein he can relive the last eight minutes of a person's life. His mission, which he's apparently chosen to accept, is to find the train bomber before he strikes again within the Chicago limits.

Jake hasn't had the best track record on the road to becoming an action star, but Source Code helps him turn that corner. Blending action a touch of mind-bending sci-fi, Jake seems more in his comfort zone. Jake also brings a level of emotional frustration to the role that may have been lacking with a run-of-the-mill action brute.

It was good seeing Jeffrey Wright (Casino Royale) in the acting saddle once again; his absence on the big screen has been noticeable these last few years. Farmiga plays his subordinate tasked to keep Stevens on task. She is excellent at conveying the stress and inner conflict Goodwin experiences in her position. 

Source Code is an excellent piece of storytelling by writer Ben Ripley (Species III) and director Duncan Jones (Moon). Jones proves with his sophomore motion picture that it's only a matter of time he'll be getting nominated and awarded Golden Globes and Oscars.

Although the story could have been repetitive and tedious given it's premise, editing and pacing keep tensions high with each of Stevens' returns. More importantly, the sci-fi thread of the story avoids losing its audience amid a wash of scientific mumbo jumbo. It instead focuses on the emotional turmoil inflicted upon Stevens and the urgency of the impending terrorist attack.

When the mumbo jumbo becomes unavoidable, that's when the deft of director and writer raise Source Code from mediocre to must-see. Much like Moon, this may go overlooked by the masses, but it is one that you'd do yourself a disservice to miss.

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