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Source Code - Blu-ray Movie Review

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Source Code - Movie Review

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5 Stars

Source Code proves that director Duncan Jones and his particular brand of minimalist sci-fi is not the product of flash-in-the-pan gimmickry.  Jones, in his second movie out of the gate, proves that he absolutely deserves to stand alongside director contemporaries such as Christopher Nolan and Edgar Wright.  Yes, the British rule sci-fi in Hollywood and, as long as they continue to provide such exhilarating tales as Source Code, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Capt. Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) is having a really bad day.  Originally stationed in Afghanistan as a helicopter pilot, he abruptly finds himself on a speeding train alongside passengers destined to meet their maker.  That’s right - everything goes BOOM in a matter of seconds.  Once again awaking in a strange location, Stevens discovers himself facing a detailed interrogation at the hands of Commanding Officer Carol Goodwin (Vera Farmiga).  She wants to know what he knows about the event…

Suddenly, the loop starts all over again, and Stevens is back on the train.  It doesn’t take long for the soldier to turn detective.  Much like Groundhog Day (in conception only) before it, Stevens keeps repeating the ticking 8 minutes until he can make sense of the military’s methods, the quiet girl he falls for (Michelle Monoghan), and discover the truth to the madness concerning the ill-fated train ride he is trapped upon.

Clocking in at a crisp 90-minutes, Jones doesn’t waste time getting to the heart of Ben Ripley’s multi-layered screenplay.  The psychology of which is fully intact as we witness true-to-life responses to the pressure of time and one’s own mortality.  Expect some head-turning moments throughout the narrative, as the time crunch impacts everyone and invites some unreliability and unexpected behavior from Capt. Stevens as he second-guesses everyone onboard – including himself.  Madness must be like this.

Gyllenhaal absolutely delivers in his performance of bravado and paranoia; one of the many achievements of this low-budget film. He delivers the heart and the romance in a narrative that stretches its time-bending premise until it bursts.  His reaction to his own confinement is, at once, harrowing and believable and it grounds us to the humanity of the situation – not the questionable logic of the situation.

Like Jones’ celebrated first directorial effort Moon, Source Code relishes in the idea of a man attempting to escape his own isolation.  Then, with a one-two punch, Source Code floors its audience with some absolutely passionate bursts of authentic heart; a fact most thrillers can’t achieve without dipping into the syrupy sweets of breakfast at Cliché Town.

Even the construction of this low-key film sells it on the level of your typical Hollywood blockbuster, but look carefully and you’ll see the fraying edges of its special effects.  Not a bad thing, only a reminder that Hollywood need not be so lavish in their attention to set design and special effects when the most careful attention has already been paid to the script.  It’s the story that matters the most (as always) and Source Code, every bit of a dazzling mindbender as Inception (yet produced on not even a quarter of its budget), is the reminder of that fact.

Good things do come in small packages.

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{2jtab: Film Details}

Source Code - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: PG-13 for some violence including disturbing images, and for language.
Director
: Duncan Jones
Writer
: Ben Ripley
Cast:
Jake Gyllenhaal; Michelle Monaghan; Vera Farmiga; Jeffrey Wright; Michael Arden
Genre: Action | Sci-Fi | Thriller
Memorable Movie Quote: "At 7:48 this morning a bomb exploded on a train outside Chicago killing everyone on board."
Distributor:
Summit Entertainment
Official Site:
www.enterthesourcecode.com
Release Date: April 1, 2011
Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available

Plot Synopsis: When decorated soldier Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) wakes up in the body of an unknown man, he discovers he’s part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train. In an assignment unlike any he’s ever known, he learns he’s part of a government experiment called the “Source Code,” a program that enables him to cross over into another man's identity in the last eight minutes of his life. With a second, much larger target threatening to kill millions in downtown Chicago, Colter re-lives the incident over and over again, gathering clues each time, until he can solve the mystery of who is behind the bombs and prevent the next attack.

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{2jtab: Blu-ray/DVD Review}

Source Code - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
5 Stars

3 Stars



Blu-ray Experience
4 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Review:

Available on Blu-ray - July 26, 2011
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, Spanish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs:
50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD); Bonus View (PiP)
Playback: Region A

Source Code’s set design might be a minimalist’s wet dream come true, but the depth and detail granted by the 1080p transfer is revelatory.  Fabric and other textures are captured with a fabulous sense of depth by the camera and skin tones – while more on the orange-reddish side at times – are equally detailed and vibrant.  The black tones are a tad too overpowering at times and do bleed a little into the palette.  Summit has attached a lively DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack that keeps the action moving with five-speaker explosions and other bits of awesome surround sound.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Provided by Duncan Jones, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Ben Ripley, Source Code’s commentary covers the details of the story, the handling of the sci-di elements by its director, and the challenges to make the repetitive nature of the situation appear anything but repetitive by its actor.  It also covers the technical aspects of the film, but doesn’t delve too heavily into that side of filmmaking.

Special Features:

Outside of the commentary, there is only one other supplemental.  It’s a picture-in-picture running commentary that features additional interviews with the cast, thoughts on time travel from scientists and such and some science fiction trivia facts.  While not completely disappointing, the handling of the material is a bit too lazy from the studio to be appreciated.

  • Access: Source Code (feature length commentary)

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