From the Editor

Movie Review Archive

Thank you for checking out my movie review archive. I'm in the process of transitioning to something else, so I will no longer post new reviews to this blog. In the meantime, I will keep these reviews archived; these are from the fall of 2008 to April 2011. Please watch this blog for more info and keep in touch (you can still find me on Facebook and Twitter). Here's to more great movies!

Wes Singleton

North Texas Film Critics Association

Friday, April 1, 2011

Source Code - B

Rated PG-13 for some violence including disturbing images, and for language, 93 minutes

“Source Code” an intriguing but baffling ride

Just when you thought you had “Inception” figured out after several viewings, along comes "Source Code,” another sci-fi action adventure in that same vein. Thrilling, confusing fun, this is on a far less epic scale than “Inception” and likely less cerebral, but still just as baffling, particularly the heartfelt ending. You won’t figure out “Source Code” in one sitting, but it’s good escapist fun.

Jake Gyllenhaal is decorated army airman Captain Colter Stevens, who finds himself in the body of an unknown man, then discovers he’s part of a secret U.S. military mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train. Over time, he learns he’s actually part of a highly secret government experiment called the “Source Code,” a program that enables him to cross over into another man’s identity in the last 8 minutes of his life in a parallel state. In order to uncover the identity of the bomber, he must relive the incident over and over and piece together clues. In the meantime, he gets to know a girl on the train (Michelle Monaghan) along with his colleague (Vera Farmiga) who becomes his ally in this deadly mission.

“Source Code” is as preposterous as it sounds on paper, but it works as original sci-fi escapist fare due to the engaging performances of leads Gyllenhaal, Monaghan and Farmiga, along with the skilled direction of Duncan Jones, who directed another underrated sci-fi thriller a few years back, “Moon,” and who may be better known as rock legend David Bowie’s son. “Source Code,” much like “Inception,” brings the sci-fi realm to the mainstream, just don’t expect to understand it all. The visuals effects, particularly the huge, jumpy explosions, are the highlight of the film.

On paper, this seems like a dramatic, sci-fi version of “Groundhog Day,” though in fact there’s more to it than that. There are lots of hidden messages and overtones about afterlife and secret government projects, and the more you try to decipher it, the more ridiculously confused you’ll get, particularly the film’s final act, which is a bit anti-climactic and predictable but still enjoyable fun. The romantic subplots aren’t well developed either, but Gyllenhaal and Monaghan make for a handsome couple.

You’ll leave “Source Code” baffled but still entertained. A good time will be had, just try not to figure it out.

Wes’s Grade: B