Source Code – You’ll Have 8 Minutes to Read the Reviews

Source Code (2011) – Jake Gyllenhaal has 8 minutes to save Chicago.

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-1- Jake Gyllenhaal shows his chops as both Sci-Fi and Comedy star by practically carrying Source Code on his own.  The film is another heady thinking-man’s flick as it’s about this concept whereas the dead have this last 8 minutes of memory storage.  It’s recently been a great month for deep adult films. What other movies recently opened in a similar genre?

QUEER ENTRY: The Adjustment Bureau, Limitless

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-2- Jake, via the machine Military scientist have created called Source Code, is placed into the victim of a terrorist attack on a commuter train.  It’s a neat concept for a while, as we are as lost as he starts out. Unfortunately, it takes many returns to the same train sequence before we’re really underway.  It’s a tough thing, to show the same scene repeatedly with only some variations along the way, before Jake’s character starts exploring both what he’s being asked to do (prevent further attacks by identifying the bomber) and why he’s part of this process in the first place  (###SPOILER REDACTED###). What other films are noted for having repetitious sections?

QUEER ENTRY: Run Lola Run, Groundhog Day

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QUEER ENTRY: Due to the slow speed, most will probably get too bored to even get to the actual good stuff.  Questions about the ethics of what the scientists are doing to Jake only come up partway, but would make for an entire expanding conversation.  And of course, there is a love story to be found at the movie’s time warping heart.  Most of Source Code really falls apart for me if I start to think too hard about it.  I have problems with that very love story that I can’t really relate since it’d be a spoiler.  But I can suggest that it ought to be creepy rather than emotionally satisfying.  No, I think I’ll just care to reflect instead on just how excited I was to see Jake command a film so well. The humor here is a lot more nuanced than the garbage that is Spider-Man 3, and I really found myself rooting for his character to succeed.  Even if the ending was as uninspiring as it turned out.  Oh, and why was Jake never shirtless? What’s up with that glaring omission? /review done.

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The Fat Man reports:

I was going to warn you about spoilers, but this movie can totally be described without spoiling a thing.

I had no reason to think that Source Code would be any good.  Eh, I take that back.  Duncan Jones directed and I sure did like Moon a few years back.  It wasn’t perfect, but seemed thoughtful and well shot.  No complaints, just good movie times.  Add to that the fact that I had seen Insidious earlier and really a day can’t get much lower than that.  So I headed to my favorite beer bar then tried out a new Mexican joint.    Delicious nachos, 4 beers, and a mojito later, I was back at the crack-head Regal Cinema.  I swiped my Regal card and got a free ticket for next time.  Excellent.

I settled into a mostly empty theater (oh yes!) and got ready.  Buy Coca-Cola, popcorn, and a car, then the trailers.  I can’t even remember the first one.  What I do remember is seeing the dreaded peaked logo and whispering “Nnnnnnoooo” as Summit entertainment popped on the screen.  The Beaver?  So this is what hitting bottom looks like for Mel Gibson.  A few more Summit trailers and it dawned on me – I didn’t know anything about this movie but 8 minutes, Duncan Jones, and Jake Gyllenhaal.  This is supposed to be a sci-fi, special effects driven movie.  Summit can’t even get vampires right.  Pointy teeth, that’s it, and they still can’t pull it off.

I was sad and a little angry.

But I soon forgot I was tricked into seeing a Summit production.  Technical pseudo time-travel, wormhole, quantum mechanics movies tend in one direction – overly complicated.  In theory all of these things are very complicated but you don’t need to weigh down a movie by making up analogies to explain concepts that the film makers probably have no understand of to begin with.  Source Code was a breath of fresh air in this regard.  There was a discovered plot line - we learned more about Gyllenhaal’s character a little bit at a time, all the way down to the last minutes of the film.  We learn more about the technology that made his time-travel  possible to the point that it was fairly obvious what was going on, but not explained enough to create bothersome plot holes.  The big reveal wasn’t done to shock you, but was part of an incredibly touching sequence that embodied hope, perseverance, and love.   Worries over Summit special effects were unwarranted – the story was more of a romance than a big explosion blockbuster.

A word on Jake Gyllenhaal.  He was great in October Sky, I laughed at his ridiculous character in The Day After Tomorrow, and after that I felt like he got a bit too big for his britches.  When did this guy become a critically acclaimed actor?  What could have possessed him to put on a stupid British accent and ruin Prince of Persia?  In all fairness, Bruckheimer ruined PoP by twisting the story so much that there was nothing left of the engaging games that inspired the movie.  Gyllenhaal really went down on the hate meter with his performance in Source Code.  It was subtle, passionate, and injected just a little bit of humor throughout the film.

I forgot about Love and Other Drugs until just now though.  Hate meter is reinstated by romping with Clowny Hathaway.

All-in-all, a fun flick that was worth the price of admission.  I can’t wait to see what Duncan Jones cranks out next!

The Fat Man considers this movie to be: