SOURCE CODE Directed by Duncan Jones

It’s nigh impossible to escape the influence of iconoclastic sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick on modern day sci-fi movie making. Already this year, we have actually had one (subpar) Dick adaptation (The Adjustment Bureau) and one superficially Dick-inspired fantasy (Zack Synder’s critically lambasted Sucker Punch). However, it may well be Duncan Jones’ superlative Source Code that takes the prize for the most faithful Dickian film creation in 2011!

From the initial proceedings (and also from the trailers), it appears that Source Code is merely a poor cousin to that illogical Denzel Washington vehicle, Deja Vu or equally similar time travel themed action flick (or a darker version of Groundhog Day?). Thankfully, it is so much more. At its core, Source Code is about the value of relationships, the nature of heroism and the infinite possibilities of the unknown. Which is what any good sci-fi should be about.

Yes, it contains the usual scientific mumbo jumbo, the obligatory special visual effects and the occasional violence and action but Source Code is an intelligent film that is so full of heart, mine literally burst at the end! Director Jones has done an amazing job in keeping Source Code within the parameters of what a Hollywood sci-fi demands without sacrificing his insistent insights into humanity. In that vein, Source Code is a big budget version of what Jones achieved with his wonderful debut, Moon (go get hold of it, if you have not seen it yet – highly recommended!).

The denouement will leave most cock-eyed optimists fairly satisfied whilst the non-geeks will no doubt be scratching their heads in bewilderment. The best part is throughout the film, Jones takes the time out to deliver the poignant moments – real emotion and not corny sentiment, mind you – our protagonist Captain Stevens’ (Jake Gyllenhaal) discovery of the truth of his situation, his driving need to save everyone in the ill-fated train and his final re-connection with his father.

Gyllenhaal is superb in the lead role, he delivers the nuances etched on Captain Stevens’ confused visage well, whilst Michelle Monaghan and Vera Farmiga provide fabulous support (and requisite eye candy), even though the roles are not fleshed out too much. Jeremy Wright plays the obligatory morally compromised scientist Rutledge with his usual understated aplomb.

Ultimately, Source Code is about one man sacrificing himself for many and in return, earns for himself the salvation he probably deserves. Astonishing to think that Source Code is only Duncan Jones’ second film and one can only hope that one day soon, he’ll get a crack at a proper Dick adaptation. It just leaves me to say that Source Code is a movie not to be missed.

Source Code is out in the cinemas now.


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