Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Case for Finding the Source

I can break down what I thought about Source Code into two words: enjoyable bollocks.

To elaborate, Source Code is a lot of fun, well put together, well acted by Jake Gyllenhaal as Captain Colter Stevens, Michelle Monaghan and the hypnotically awesome Vera Farmiga and well worth the effort to see.  But, don't try and make sense of any of the supposed "science" going on, as that is all a complete load of rubbish.


I can't really explain how much drivel the concept behind Source Code is without revealing a lot about how the movie unfolds.  True, the idea of hopping back in time for a short while to save the planet or people from certain disaster is nothing new (remember the awesome 12 Monkeys?  Avoid the seemingly stupid Déjà vu?).  But these kind of films always try and have some form of internal logic to explain how these things happen - the "rules" as it were that govern something that currently seems completely implausible.  But, in Source Code, the rules themselves are very open to interpretation, and a bit morally ambiguous. 

The main rule (and I think I can reveal this without giving away too much, but stop now if you don't want to know) is that Stevens is reliving the last moments of a "host" man who died in a train explosion, the last memories of whom were captured by a computer programme in some unspecified yet quite sophisticated way (considering he was pretty close to the blast, I imagine there might not be much brain left to get these glimmers from).  So, if that is the case, how does Stevens move "outside" of this person's experiences to track down the guilty parties?  Is the computer programme filling in the gaps of places and things the "host" experienced, and so these details and any information that might be gathered may not be right at all? 

Putting aside this and every other head-scratching "but" moment, the rest of the film flows really well.  As previously mentioned, any scene with Vera Farmiga is infinitely watchable, and the scenes on the train are quick enough that Stevens' acclimatization and wilder antics as he tries to find the guilty party don't really drag.  Meanwhile, Monaghan is all sweetness and light and unbelievably appealing, and I dare anyone not to want take her home with them.

The film also makes Chicago look like an amazing place I would love to visit, though I would have to go with ear muffs on to ensure I avoided the incredibly irritating soundtrack that seems to dominate the movie and the city.  Indeed the first 5 minutes of the film make the windy city seem incredibly interesting while at the same time have me reaching for the neck of the score's composer so that I can wring it.

All up though, the film is really well put together, even if the parts are not equal to the sum of the whole.  It's also one of those films that won't really lose anything on the small screen, but I appreciated seeing it at the cinema nonetheless.

Verdict: Source Code passes much better when it stops trying to make sense and just increases the action, tension and makes liberal use of Vera Farmiga.  6 clips of a Chicago city rail ticket out of 10.

No comments: