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An action thriller centered on a soldier who wakes up in the body of an unknown man and discovers he's part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train.
For more about Source Code and the Source Code Blu-ray release, see Source Code Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on July 6, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright, Russell Peters
Director: Duncan Jones
» See full cast & crew
Source Code Blu-ray Review
Though it may be sourced from this and that and here and there and everywhere, 'Source Code' still proves to be a fine picture.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, July 6, 2011
What would you do if you knew you had less than a minute to live?
Source Code plays like some mad scientist's amalgamation of several different films. Think, maybe, Déjà Vu meets Unstoppable meets Groundhog Day meets another classic Science Fiction movie, the name of which would instantly give away a critical plot point. Usually, movies that throw together elements of various other, established, well-received films don't work. The surprise here is that, to the contrary, Source Code is a good movie. It's certainly not the next great Science Fiction film, and don't expect it to be in the running for anything come awards season, but it's a smart and edgy thinking man's Thriller that takes its concept -- as much of a hodgepodge of other ideas as it might be -- and molds it into an entertaining and worthwhile picture that's equal parts action and drama. The film plays a little too fast and the resolution seems a bit more easy than it should be, but the saving grace is that there's more to Source Code than the general premise suggests. The film smartly incorporates a nice helping of human drama, allowing it to elevate above standard genre elements and shortcomings and build a more complete and satisfying experience.
Afghanistan war veteran Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) is surprised to find himself on a Chicago-bound train rather than with his unit in the war-torn nation halfway across the globe. He's downright shocked to learn that, in this place that might best be described as some parallel universe, he's not Colter Stevens but rather Sean Fentress, an acquaintance of his seat mate, a young woman he comes to know as Christina (Michelle Monaghan). His train is the unfortunate target of a terrorist attack, and after the explosion, he awakens in a dark, dingy facility where he's told that he's been chosen to participate in a radically advanced counterterrorism program that's capable of sending him back to the same eight minutes over and over before the train explodes. His task is to locate the bomb and the bomber onboard the train. But while he's reliving the same eight minutes over and over again, clocks continue to tick in the "real world" where the authorities believe that the train explosion was but a diversion for a plot to unleash a dirty bomb inside Chicago. As Colter -- or whoever he is -- races to identify the threat on the train, he also begins to piece together the circumstances that led him to serving in this capacity as he video-dialogues with both his military liaison Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) and one Dr. Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright), the designer of the "source code" technology that's allowing Colter to relive those same eight minutes over and over again.
For all the borrowed elements Source Code employs, the premise ultimately feels like something out of "Star Trek." Indeed, the film bears a resemblance to the episode "Cause and Effect" that sees the Enterprise destroyed time and again in a continuous loop. Source Code even employs some heavy-handed scientific mumbo-jumbo that's straight out of the "Trek" playbook, but the film proves significantly more chilling in that it's all happening in the here and now and in the midst of very real early 21st century domestic threats. The plot is way out there, but that it's worked into contemporary society in such a way that most everyone in the audience can easily relate to the dangers in and the circumstances surrounding the events depicted in the film is perhaps its greatest strength. The science appears well-conceived as it's described in layman's terms at one critical juncture, but the accuracies or inaccuracies that may or may not exist won't hinder one's ability to enjoy the movie. The story is nicely layered and steadily fans out from the central premise to engage in several areas of interest that aren't immediately evident as the film opens, and that it manages to encompass so many elements that all come back full circle proves the picture's value and the strength of the writing.
Source Code isn't on the same level as Director Duncan Jones's previous Science Fiction masterpiece, Moon, but it does show that Jones is primed to enjoy a lengthy career as more than a one-hit wonder. It's clear he's found his niche in building smart Science Fiction, and while Source Code doesn't resonate with quite the same "instant classic" awe that hangs over every frame of Moon, it does better many of its lesser contemporaries in terms of structure and smarts. If there's a primary fault, it's that the film moves along a little too fast; it could use a more solid foundation and a greater sense of purpose, but that must be balanced with the notion that Source Code is as much a Human Drama as it is a fast-paced Science Fiction/Action piece. The film maintains an honest and palpable but not quite on-pins-and-needles aura of mystery as not only the "bomb" plot is hashed out, but as arguably the more critical element of just who Colter Stevens is and what's happened to and become of him is slowly but surely brought to light. Jake Gyllenhaal is steadily strong throughout the film; he conveys a wide range of emotion as he deals with not only the rapid-fire repeating quest to find the bomb and the bomber, but fights to discover who he's become, where he is, and what his own future holds.
Source Code Blu-ray, Video Quality
Source Code debuts on Blu-ray with a dazzling but not quite flawless 1080p, 1.78:1-framed transfer. This one's rock-solid from beginning to end, boasting strong details and fine colors throughout. Though flesh tones gravitate slightly towards a red tint, the palette in general is quite good, though not exactly vibrant by design. The picture offers an ever-so-slightly cold veneer as much of the action takes place in the relatively sterile-looking train or the darkened room in which Colter communicates with Colleen Goodwin. Still, Colter's blue shirt and various exterior shots offer up splendid and nicely balanced hues. Fine detail is quite good, but not necessarily up there with the best Blu-ray's ever seen. Facial textures are good and various surfaces, such as the brick façade at a train depot, are exemplary, though in a more general sense the transfer appears a touch flat and not perfectly striking. Still, a fine layer of grain accentuates the positives and provides a nice cinematic flair. Black levels are more often than not spot-on, though they're perhaps a shade too dark and overwhelming in one or two scenes. The transfer is also technically flawless, never offering even a hint of banding, blocking, or edge enhancement. It's not a perfect transfer, but it's still a solid "A" and another excellent effort from Summit.
Source Code Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Source Code features a technically competent but somewhat Action-movie-generic DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack. Music delivery is wonderfully smooth; this is a good and full sound presentation that's rich, lively, and spacious all around the listening area, enjoying a crispness and just the right amount of surround support to fully engulf the audience in Chris P. Bacon's score. Action effects are devastatingly potent; the first time the train explodes, the soundstage becomes instantly inundated with the sheer force of the blast as it sweeps all around, accompanied by the terrible sound of twisted metal that's replayed with frightening ease. The track also delivers a fair bit of surround accents, such as the digitized voice announcing stops through the train or various background passenger chatter. Still, much of the film is dialogue-heavy, and Summit's track handles the spoken word with the expected sonic perfection. This is an all-around performer, a highly competent track that doesn't really separate itself from the pack but that does manage to offer a perfectly suitable Blu-ray listening experience.
Source Code Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Source Code features only two extras. First is an audio commentary track with Director Duncan Jones, Actor Jake Gyllenhaal, and Writer Ben Ripley. The track is well-rounded and informative, with Ripley starting things off by speaking on the writing process, his genre influences, and the story's evolution. Generally, the track is fairly standard in information delivered. The fine details of the story, the intricacies of the plot, and many specifics that went into the penning of the tale but that weren't necessarily conveyed in the final film are shared. The commentators also delve into the technical side of the filmmaking process while speaking on shooting locales, digital effects, working in and around the various sets, the performances of the cast, and plenty more. This is a good commentary, one that's not destined to become a classic but one that's certainly well worth a listen. The other extra is Access: Source Code, a picture-in-picture feature that offers interviews with the cast, expert's comments on time travel, "behind the science" features, and trivia facts.
Source Code Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Source Code is an imperfect but nevertheless enthralling Science Fiction film that's more or less equal parts thinking man's picture and general crowd pleaser. Unlike Director Duncan Jones's Moon -- which was more of a straight psychological picture -- Source Code plays a bit more as big, sweeping, entertaining cinema, but Jones has done a fine job of molding the picture into one that's almost uniquely fit for all audiences. There's enough Action to satisfy those who wish to enjoy Source Code as more of a "leave the brain at the door" sort of experience, and there are plenty of layers and subtleties that are both peripheral and central to the plot to satisfy more demanding audiences. Source Code is a fine followup to Moon, and even if it often feels like any number of movies jumbled together as one, the end result is quite good and well worth a watch or two. Summit's Blu-ray release of Source Code yields, as expected, stellar video and audio, but fans might be slightly disappointed with the limited selection of extras. Still, this release earns a hearty recommendation.
Source Code: Other Editions
Blu-ray bundles with Source Code (1 bundle)
Source Code Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Blu-ray Sales, July 25-July 31: Source Code is No. 1 - August 4, 2011
For the week ending July 31, Source Code finished on top of the Blu-ray sales chart. The sci-fi thriller had a successfull box office release, produced with a low production budget of $32 million, the film finished its worldwide theatrical run with $123 million. ...
• This Week on Blu-ray: July 26 - August 1 - July 26, 2011
After the critical success of his first film Moon, director Duncan Jones has gone on to prove that he is not only the sun of a famous musician, but also an accomplished director. Today's Blu-ray release of Source Code doesn't hit the same sci-fi level of his previous ...
• Source Code Blu-ray - May 16, 2011
Following its theatrical release in April, Duncan Jones' Source Code will arrive on Blu-ray this summer. This twisty sci-fi thriller stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a soldier trying to prevent a terrorist attack with the help of a top-secret government program. Summit ...
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