Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Source Code

Source Code

Directed by Duncan Jones

Director Duncan Jones' debut "Moon" displayed his skill in subtlelty and detailed plot construction most characteristic of an experienced filmmaker, but here he ventures into more standard fare. However, utilizing his talents, he manages to create a distinctly superior sci-fi action adventure.

The basic concept behind Source Code is both complex and alarmingly simple. Unlike Moon, this movie doesn't require much thinking to understand and enjoy -- which can, obviously, be both a good thing and a bad thing. You could have anyone in your family watch this movie, and they would leave it understanding what had happened with relative ease. On the other hand, there isn't much left to contemplate by the time explanations occur -- much like last year's Inception.

Explores the mysteries of alternate realities in a fascinating way - using technology as the gateway - but not so deep as to alienate any of its viewers. As it generally goes, any movie that focuses heavily on parallel reality or time-travel (in this case, a little of both) will leave people contemplating the details, and arguing moot points. Source Code manages to simplify it enough (for the most part) to bypass this process, offering a largely fundamentally believable method, despite a few obvious hitches in logic.

Uncommonly well-conceived for a film of its genre, few action movies are able to be as thrilling, intriguing, and emotionally involved. If it hadn't been for the overly-sappy, nonsensical Hollywood ending, I could see it easily landing near the top of a list of movies released so far this year.

With characters every bit as layered as the plotline (which, though somewhat simple, is still very involved), we are able to connect to them more than would be expected. It is because these characters are so genuine feeling, that I was left distraught by the ending, which robbed us of the emotional payoff I felt was deserved. Many movies have been ruined by this kind of atrocity, and Source Code is no different.

The cast deliver fine performances, particularly on the part of Gyllenhaal and Farmiga, who despite never being fully explored on a personal level, feel like real human beings. Monaghan is a half-character (we never really see her character out of a brief window in time), and Wright feels like something straight out of a pulp science-fiction novel. However, the primary concern for the actors in this movie isn't to explore depth of character, but to have engaging chemistry with one another, and at this they all succeed.

In conclusion, a strong entry to the sci-fi/action genre, Source Code is very enjoyable up until the end, which sadly manages to hinder the whole experience.


Ryan J. Marshall said...

Good review. I liked it too; not a great film, not one of my favorites for this year, but intelligent and skillfully made with much craft. A good follow-up to Moon.

Nick L. said...

Nice review, Jeff. I would give Source Code the same rating, but for different reasons. I think it had-- in some ways-- what I like to call the "Vantage Point effect", where we are shown the same scene over and over again to the point where it gets incredibly annoying and boring. The film was still pretty original, despite that cheesy Hollywood taste it left in my mouth (as mentioned).

Aditya Gokhale said...

Nicely written! I have somehow avoided watching this after hearing comparisons to Inception. And I surely don't wanna see another Inception-like movie.

Jeff SC said...

@ Ryan J. Marshall
That's pretty much how I felt about it in a nutshell :)

@ Nick L.
Haha, the "Vantage Point effect", eh? That doesn't bother me as long as the events change in some way or another -- just take a look at Rashomon.

@ Aditya Gokhale
It's by no means the same as Inception, but I guess you could call it "Inception-like".

Thanks guys for reading!

MP said...

Great review I felt the ending was a little bit sappy but nowadays movies are so drab violent and depressing that I felt it was good to see something happy for once

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the movie more than you did, and I enjoyed the happy ending, but its great to see you didn't hate this film. A great review all around, Jeff


Tom_Film_Master said...

Amazing review and I love your new layout! ic and slick :)

Jeff SC said...

@ MP
Thanks, and I can see what you mean. I just felt it was too much, not to mention the fact that I think it could have been great had they closed on the freeze-frame.

@ Rodders
Thanks. I'm glad at least a few people liked the happy ending. Maybe when I watch it again it won't be as much of a problem for me.

@ Tom_Film_Master
Thanks, I have been trying to work on making it look better and more efficient ;)

Thanks everybody for your comments!