April 8, 2011
By David AdamsThe story‚??It is counterproductive to try to save anyone on the train,‚?Ě says Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga), scientist at a military base, code name ‚??Beleaguered Castle.‚?Ě She‚??s talking, by somewhat unreliable video link-up, with Air Force helicopter pilot Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) who is strapped, upside down, in a battered capsule known as ‚??Source Code.‚?Ě What is his mission? Why does he ‚??wake up‚?Ě on a Chicago-bound commuter train, sitting opposite attractive Christina Warren (Michelle Monaghan)? How does she know him, and why does she call him ‚??Sean‚?Ě? ‚??I don‚??t know who Sean is, and I don‚??t know who you are,‚?Ě says Colter. We audience members don‚??t know either, sharing Colter‚??s confusion and, as the story unfolds, learning, as he does, what‚??s going on.What is Colter‚??s mission? Why does he have only eight minutes? Who is ‚?? was ‚?? Sean Fentress? Where is Colter Stevens ‚?? really? For answers to these and other questions, see this brain-bending sci-fi mystery thriller.The actorsJake Gyllenhaal is excellent as Air Force pilot Colter Stevens, unraveling both the ill-fated commuter train‚??s story and his own narrative. His last memory is piloting a helicopter in Afghanistan. ‚??I need to be briefed,‚?Ě he says, protesting a mission he does not understand. In the dark as well, we identify with Colter. Vera Farmiga, skillful and increasingly sympathetic in the role of military scientist Colleen Goodwin, advises Colter ‚?? and us in the audience: ‚??Don‚??t think. Do.‚?Ě Michelle Monaghan is appealing as Christina Warren, long-time platonic friend of teacher Sean Fentress, in whose body Colter finds himself. Christina hopes to be more than Sean‚??s friend; Colter‚??s feelings complement Christina‚??s.Others in the cast include Jeffrey Wright as Dr. Rutledge whose project ‚??Source Code‚?Ě is, but about which he is oddly elusive. What‚??s his story? Among the passengers on the train is Michael Arden as Derek Frost.Other comments‚??Source Code‚?Ě is a nifty, satisfying sci-fi mystery thriller, with intriguing plot, smart script and characters we care about. Duncan Jones directs from Ben Ripley‚??s script. The story unfolds gradually, characters reveal themselves and suspense rises. I‚??ll say no more about the plot. If you‚??ve seen the preview, you already know more. Movie-goers who enjoyed ‚??Avatar,‚?Ě ‚??Inception‚?Ě and, more recently, ‚??The Adjustment Bureau‚?Ě and ‚??Limitless,‚?Ě will like this one. As did the others, ‚??Source Code‚?Ě raises interesting questions about reality and identity ‚?? fun to talk about on the way home.Rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images and language, ‚??Source Code‚?Ě runs just 93 minutes ‚?? rare these days when so many action films are annoyingly inflated. Adult entertainment. Final wordsGyllenhaal in ‚??Source Code,‚?ĚIt‚??ll bend your brain,Sci-fi mystery ‚??Can he save the train?