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McCoy on Movies: "Source Code" Movie Review

McCoy on Movies: "Source Code" Movie Review
Is Jake Gyllenhaal's latest thriller a thrill ride or does it get derailed midway through? See what our reviewer had to say and find out!

"Danger, shmanger ... Gimme 'dem lips, lady!" Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) embraces Christina Warren (Michelle Monaghan) during a tender moment in SOURCE CODE.
Credit:  Jonathan Wenk. © 2011 Summit Entertainment, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

 

KEY CAST MEMBERS:  Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga and Jeffrey Wright

WRITER: Ben Ripley

DIRECTOR: Duncan Jones

WEB SITE: www.enterthesourcecode.com

 

THE PLOT: Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a decorated Blackhawk helicopter pilot ... And he's also now in a body he doesn't recognize in a metal cockpit-like holding area. As you might expect, he's very confused by the situation.

 

That's when Goodwin (Vera Farmiga), via monitor, informs him that he is part of a new top-secret program known as the "Source Code." In layman's terms, the d2dWebInstoryGIF.GIFprogram allows Colter to go back in time 8 minutes via the brain of another person (it makes more sense in the movie) - which is useful since someone just blew up a train in Chicago. In order to prevent the next terrorist attack in the city, Colter's task is to go back in time and discover who the bomber is.

 

While both Goodwin and Dr. Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright) explain Colter's situation to him repeatedly, Colter is confident he can do more than just discover the bomber; in fact, he is convinced he can save everyone on the train - especially Christina Warren (Michelle Monaghan) - despite the fact the bombing has already occurred.

 

What ensues is a time-traveling adventure that takes on the ideas of heroism and romance unlike any you've seen before.

 

THE TAKE: I really don't have a lot to say about Source Code, but don't get me wrong: It's not as if I didn't enjoy the film. The problems I have with it is that the performances are no where near as strong as its plot.

 

While Gyllenhaal - who carries the movie - is clearly the star, the rest of the supporting cast is a bit "off." Wright especially is a bit, I don't know, shaky, in his portrayal of Dr. Rutledge. While I get that he's trying to portray him as an intellectual know it all who is more concerned with results than anything else, his character comes off so corny that at points, I kept waiting for him to recite bad late night-style one-liners. (That would have been more believable than some of his actual dialogue, by the way.)

 

Likewise, Farmiga is essentially just a stiff - imagine Edie Falco as Carmela Soprano when Tony would upset her and all she could do is stare at him in a huff out of fear of physical retaliation - and Monaghan doesn't do much more than just smile. Seriously, count the number of times she's on screen and how much her character just ... Smiles. It's like staring at a brunette Barbie doll at times. They could have given her something more to do, right? RIGHT?!

 

These issues not withstanding, the film works at his basic level as the plot slowly unfurls itself, keeping you interested long enough to stay intrigued through the film's climax. That is the ultimate success of the film for trust me, it's not the acting - as long as you buy in to the world in which Source Code exists (and those nagging questions that pop up about the logic in that world don't bug you too much).

 

PARTING SHOT: While not without its flaws, Source Code is more entertaining than you might be led to think ... As long as you buy into the film's plot and overlook a few minor mistakes.

 

RATING (OUT OF FOUR POSSIBLE BUCKETS OF POPCORN):

Tabari McCoy -

Tabari McCoy is Cincy Chic's movie critic. You can check out more of his work on his blog at McCoyonMovies.BlogSpot.com and follow him on Twitter at @tabarimccoy

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