Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Source Code

Last year’s Inception seems to have rejuvenated the Sci-Fi genre, as its success has proven that the world is once again ready for a deliberate sprinkling of future technology, complicated & misleading plotlines and brave heroes to entertain them on screen. Source Code, starring Jake Gyllenhaal (Jarhead, Prince of Persia, Donnie Darko), is one such movie and thankfully, it does more than a few things right.

With the risk of simply regurgitating the entire plotline in the form of a review (as many reviewers tend to do) taken into consideration: I won’t say a lot about the plot, as most of the film’s magic comes from the process of trying to figure out what exactly is actually happening and even more importantly, what is actually NOT happening.

Many reviewers will probably tell you that Source Code has an extremely complex story structure, but when you strip it down to its bare essentials, you’ll realize that it’s actually very straightforward. The real achievement here by Director Duncan Jones (Moon) is how he manages to masterfully hide most of the major plot revelations, only gradually revealing them very far into the film. Luckily for the viewer, the protagonist is just as lost and confused, as you both try to figure out what is the best plan of action under the confusing circumstances. It is this mutual mystery that keeps the film moving forward, even though you’re essentially just watching the same 8 minutes over and over again (This will make sense when you watch the film).

"The real achievement here by Director Duncan Jones is how he manages to masterfully hide most of the major plot revelations, only gradually revealing them very far into the film."

As most of the film is very action-heavy, Gyllenhaal probably won’t receive any award mentions, even though his performance is quite fittingly excellent and consistent throughout the film. The two supporting female actresses, Michelle Monaghan (Due Date, Gone Baby Gone) and Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air) are both just as brilliant, with special mention to Farmiga, delivering a very powerful performance that elevates many of the film’s more dramatic moments above the heights of your typical Sci-Fi action fest. The only disappointing and even slightly irritating performance comes from Jeffrey Wright (Quantum of Solace, Casino Royale, Syriana), as he delivers his lines so over-dramatized that it's hard to take him serious. 

The film’s soundtrack is quite typical action flick stuff and effectively imbues many scenes with a high level of intensity. But in some cases, the music just seems a bit too dramatic and even feels a bit overpowering and forced. The film’s special effects are great throughout, but to be honest, there was very few scenes that truly impressed with their CGI brilliance –These are however two very small chips in a beautiful gem of a cinema experience.

Source Code is an excellent Popcorn movie that might lead to a few entertaining discussions about the space-time continuum afterwards – Just don’t expect something that will change your outlook on life.

This scene is less cheesy than it seems, really.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Meerkat Tails