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.
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