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DVD Review: Source Code

July 26, 2011

Source Code – An eOne Films’ Release

DVD Release Date: July 26th, 2011

Rated PG for violence, coarse language, not recommend for young children

Running time: 93 minutes

Duncan Jones (dir.)

Ben Ripley (screenplay)

Chris Bacon (music)

Jake Gyllenhaal as Colter Stevens

Michelle Monaghan as Christina Warren

Vera Farmiga as Colleen Goodwin

Jeffrey Wright as Dr. Rutledge

Our reviews below:


Source Code DVD Review By John C.

*** (out of 4)

At the beginning of Duncan Jones’ thrilling Source Code, Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) is on a Chicago commuter train for eight minutes, sitting across from Christina (Michelle Monaghan).  Moments later, the train is blown up.  Then the soldier wakes up in an abandoned bunker, taking commands from Colleen Goodwin (Vera Fermiga) to go back in and find the bomber.  Once again, he will have eight minutes.  Colter Stevens is part of an experimental new government program, where he is able to enter the subconscious of a person in the last few minutes of their life.  His mission is to relive the final eight minutes in the lives of these passengers, so that he can find the bomber and prevent an oncoming terrorist attack in downtown Chicago.

The action scenes here are top-notch and the suspense is masterfully built, as the film is carried by a fully involved performance from Jake Gyllenhaal.  The debate over alternate universe theories and time travel will be debated for hours afterwards, even after a second viewing.  But if the film had ended a few minutes earlier with a beautiful frozen image, then the final few scenes would have ultimately been more emotionally effecting and appropriately ambiguous.  Still, although Source Code doesn’t take its great premise quite as far as it could have, this is a good sci-fi thriller that delivers some intriguing ideas along with the impressive action.

The Blu-ray includes audio commentary with director Jones, as well as picture-in-picture insights into the science behind the film.  ___________________________________________________________________________

Source Code DVD Review by Erin V.  

***1/4 (out of 4)

Capt. Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) wakes up on a Chicago train that he’s never seen before, with the woman sitting across from him calling him by the name Sean Fentress.  After 8 confusing minutes, the train blows up and Stevens finds himself alone in a small capsule, speaking to military officers via computer screen.  He is informed that he is working inside ‘the source code,’ allowing him to live out the last 8 minutes of train passenger Fentress’ life in order to examine the other passengers on the train to find the bomber and thwart the next attack.  Although reminiscent of films like Groundhog Day or Inception, Source Code never quite reaches the same heights.

It’s definitely one of those movies that can be hypothesized about – it’s easy to defend, but also easy to pull apart.  Backed up by a strong supporting cast, Jake Gyllenhaal carries the movie, with a good performance as we have come to expect from him.  Now would this have been a movie that could have ended a little sooner, like Inception’s now famous final cut?  Yes, definitely.  If Source Code had ended those couple of minutes sooner, it would have been a more emotionally powerful and tightly written film easily deserving of a higher rating.  Because sometimes it is true what they say – get off the stage as quickly as you can, and respect the audience to imagine the film’s life after fade-to-black.  But even as is, overall I liked it and found it to illicit an interesting discussion on the way out of the theatre.  It is definitely worth checking out.


Source Code DVD Review By Nicole

*** (out of 4)

Source Code is an interesting and exciting thriller.  When Chicago is hit by a train bombing, a secret government program uses army Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) to access the memories and mind of one of the deceased bomb victims, in order to not only prevent another bombing, but perhaps change the past as well.

Source Code is really good.  The acting is strong and there is a lot of suspense.  But the ending is a bit confusing and would have been better if it had cut at the freeze frame a few minutes or so from the end.  However, Source Code is a still a great film that I would recommend to anyone who wants a thought-provoking thriller.


Source Code DVD Review By Maureen

*** (out of 4)

When the same eight minutes of a train ride on a Chicago commuter train are repeated again and again before the train explodes, we’re reminded of a movie called Groundhog Day.  The difference is, Source Code is a fast paced sci-fi thriller, not a dramedy.

Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a U.S. army helicopter pilot who finds himself inside the last eight minutes of a train-bombing victim’s memories.  Capt. Stevens’ job, as directed to him by the voice on a screen, Officer Goodwin (Vera Fermiga) is to find out who the train bomber is before he can detonate other explosives.  Complicating his mission is his growing feelings for fellow passenger, Christine (Michelle Monaghan).  With each subsequent return to the eight minute memory sequences, Capt. Stevens is more determined to alter the course of Christina’s fate.

There is a real sense of tension each time Capt. Stevens returns to the eight minute segment.  Even if the science of what’s really going on with the whole idea of what ‘source code’ means is a little hard to follow, the movie Source Code provides an exciting 93 minutes.  The entertainment value of the movie is due in part to the strong acting of the lead, Jake Gyllenhaal.  The plot and science of Source Code may be a little hard to believe, but Gyllenhaal is completely believable.  With good performances all around, including a small part by Canadian comic Russell Peters, Source Code is an exciting sci-fi action thriller that is worth watching more than once to catch all the details.


Source Code DVD Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)

Source Code opens on an inbound commuter train, where Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) wakes with a start, sitting across from a strange woman, Christina (Michelle Monaghan), who knows him as Sean Fentress, a teacher whose reflection stares back at Colter in a mirror, shortly before the train explodes, killing all inside. Colter then finds himself inside a wrecked pod being debriefed by video monitor with an officer named Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga), under the supervision of Dr. Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright). Though his last living memory was being shot down in a helicopter in Afghanistan, he is told that he had been assigned to a new mission, to experience, as in a dream, the last eight minutes of Fentress’ residual memory extracted after death (i.e. Source Code), going back repeatedly in order to find the bomber before he carries out a threat to set off a bigger dirty bomb in the city. Though warned that he can only provide information that can affect the future, Colter tries also to prevent the original explosion, which time travellers know is only possible in an alternate universe.

Source Code is a fine science fiction thriller that has been compared to Inception, though not quite as challenging, with a much less ambiguous ending that makes it in a way less satisfying. However, with a fine cast, good script, tight editing, beautiful camera work, and an exciting score from Chris Bacon, British director Duncan Jones has nicely overcome the acknowledged challenge, not unlike in Groundhog Day, of maintaining interest despite repeatedly going over essentially the same scene until the mystery is solved.


Consensus: Directed with a strong sense of suspense by Duncan Jones and anchored by a good leading performance from Jake Gyllenhaal, Source Code is a tense sci-fi thriller that leaves the audience with a lot to think about, however it arguably could have benefited from ending a few minutes earlier.  *** (Out of 4)

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