If I could describe Source Code in a single word, that word would be efficient. An action-packed twist on the Groundhog Day theme from Moon director Duncan Jones, the movie clocks in at a virtually fat-free 93 minutes – deftly side-stepping an onslaught of plot-holes along the way.
If that sounds like a back-handed compliment, it really isn’t. Source Code has a clever premise that requires a convoluted explanation, but instead of getting bogged down in logistics, the film just chooses to focus on other things. It’s funny, slyly self-aware and massively refreshing in an era when bloated, exposition-heavy sci fi is rapidly becoming the norm.
As a US Army captain who wakes up on a strange train, in a strange body, with exactly 8 minutes to live until he and everyone around him meets a fiery end, Jake Gyllenhaal brings admirable commitment and just enough genuine pathos to really sell the emotional undercurrent of the movie.
Michelle Monaghan isn’t given much to do as the obligatory love interest, but Vera Farmiga and Jeffrey Wright have great fun as the morally ambiguous military leaders who may or may not be pulling the strings. Wright in particular is clearly having great fun adopting a bewildering accent and going full-ham on his exposition-heavy dialogue. There’s also a surprisingly affecting vocal cameo from Scott Bakula, which nods to Source Code‘s clear Quantum Leap influences in a lovely way. This is a movie that knows exactly what it is, and delivers accordingly – a rare treat.
On this week’s podcast, we take a deep dive into Source Code’s fairly barmy plot mechanics, pitch some sequel ideas, brainstorm some drinking games and check in with our listeners for their reviews.
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Next time, we’re diving into the Netflix back catalogue for a timely teen comedy with a twist. Until then, happy listening and remember – you may only have 8 minutes to save the world, but Madonna did it in four…