Source Code

Rated PG-13 94 min. 2011

Director Duncan Jones is doing what few are, or rather dare, to do, which is making thoughtful, human science fiction that also manages to be entertaining. The movie works on the quite far-fetched idea that a secret government project has learned how to send people’s minds into the “afterglow” of a recently deceased person, called the “source code.” In this case, we have Air Force pilot Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) being beamed into the brain of a teacher named Sean Fentress who was just blown up on a commuter train by an unknown terrorist. Colter’s mission is to figure out — via the last eight minutes of Sean’s life — who bombed the train so that another attack can be thwarted. Eight minutes isn’t a lot of time, so Colter continually gets transported back into Sean’s mind by his government overseers, his handler (Vera Farmiga) who’s constantly giving him direction, and the callow scientist (Jeffrey Wright) in charge of the operation. As Colter repeatedly goes through the same scene, it’s easy to be reminded of Groundhog Day, but Source Code takes the underlying nightmarish aspects of that film and turns them into something more palpably grievous and sad, though never overstated. A lot of this comes out through film as we learn the true nature of not only the Source Code project, but of the ways in which they’re willing to take advantage of Colton for their own gain. It works best when it’s not bogged down inside the mystery that pushed the plot forward, but rather when it’s examining ideas of the true nature of life and destiny.

Film Credits

Official Site:

Director: Duncan Jones

Writer: Ben Ripley

Producer: Mark Gordon, Philippe Rousselet and Jordan Wynn

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright, Russell Peters, James A. Woods, Michael Arden, Cas Anvar, Joe Cobden and Neil Napier


Source Code

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