In the first half of Source Code there is little more than an average Sci-Fi, as Jake Gyllenhaal’s soldier Colter Stevens is repeatedly sent back into the “memory” of a man who died in a train explosion. Stevens task is to find the bomb and identify the bomber before he releases a dirty bomb in Chicago. What lets down this side of the story is just how easy the task is, it only takes a handful of trips back to the train for Stephens to succeed and Stephens still finds plenty of time to fall in love and investigate his own situation.
The real idea at the centre of Source Code is not the bomb on the train but the soldier performing the investigation. Exactly how Stevens is able to enter the memory of a dead man, and experience locations and people the man did not himself experience, is where the real intrigue of the film lies. Here we have a bit of a philosophical quandry, not just explosions and running around with guns.
Sadly the intriguing section of the film is left to the end and the more by the numbers “stop the terrorist” plot dominates. A few more trips into the source code would have been nice, even if truncated to a few key moments which could have highlighted a little more the difficulty of the task at hand.
While not exactly as big a statement as Moon for Duncan Jones, Source Code still gives you something to think about and doesn’t overstay its welcome. Jeffrey Wright and Vera Farmiga give excellent support, portraying two people trying to do the right thing, with potentially different motivations. Michelle Monaghan is pretty but doesn’t have much else to do really.
See Source Code for a short bit of Sci-Fi with a real idea at its core, even if it does get a bit lost in trying to distract you with guns and finger pointing along the way.