Sunday, 3 April 2011

REVIEW: Source Code

Dir.: Duncan Jones
With: Jake Gylenhaal, Vera Farmiga

One thing I can say for sure after watching “Source Code” is that I would love to visit Chicago. The bird’s eye view of the city’s architecture on a beautiful, sunny day makes Chicago seem like the perfect example of outstanding urban planning and cutting-edge architecture. I also liked how the famous ‘metal blob’ (I’m sure it has a more poetic name) monument by Anish Kapoor was integrated into the story.

Other than this, the film proved to be a very pleasant surprise. Out of the last three movies that were quite similar in their genre and the themes they touched upon (“Unknown” and “Limitless”), “Source Code” is obviously the more superior film, both in terms of the plot and acting. The story itself is a bizarre combination of “Inception” and “Groundhog Day”. Jake Gylenhaal’s character, Colter Stevens, wakes up on a train, in another man’s body with only 8 minutes to go before the train blows up. I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, but he has to go through these 8 minutes of mayhem over and over again.

I find Jake Gylenhall infinitely watchable; he just looks like a very decent person (I think that it’s his huge blue eyes) that I could never imagine him play a villain. So, you end up really rooting for him. Vera Farmiga, on the other hand, is great at portraying distant and controlled people – like she did in “Up in the Air”, and she does this very well again here. Again, I don’t want to say more about her role, scared as I am of spoiling the surprise of the film.

Grrr…it’s so hard to say something meaningful about a movie like this without giving anything away. So, I’ll just have to be vague this time.  Although it isn’t perfect, it is definitely entertaining and worth watching. There are some cheesy moments, and overall, the film is quite absurd, but I, personally, like these kinds of things. There is tension, passion, sadness and humour, which is a good combination for a thriller. I also think that films like this, which are set in enclosed spaces, are quite difficult to direct and to shoot. There is only so much drama that can fit into a train or a bus (remember “Speed”? good times). “Source Code” deals with its limitations superbly and actually uses them to its own advantage.

A nice bit of casting was Russel Peters, the comedian, playing a commuting comedian on the train. It was quite funny when he first appeared on screen, the audience all laughed and went ‘oooooh’ in recognition. It is little signposts like this that make films more memorable and smile inducing.

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