Leap, an obvious influence, Jones cast that show’s star, Scott Bakula, to voice Colter’s father. The set design and cinematography create an undeniable sense of confinement and claustrophobia. The special effects, however, are middling — in particular the scene in which Gyllenhaal jumps from the speeding train — especially for a relatively big-budget Hollywood film.
Though action and suspense drive the film, human interest, romance, and humor are riding in the back. Colter initially thinks Christina is a robot or computer simulation; once he understands she is (was?) human, he warms up to her. The sweet moment when he sits next to her and involves her in a “game” of identifying suspicious passengers is straight out of a romantic comedy — except for that pesky terrorist plot.
Colter eventually accepts his own fate but determines to save Christina and the other passengers; with that, Source Code hints at themes of compassion, coming to grips with mortality, and learning to value every minute of our all-too-brief lives. Jones and Ripley get a little carried away, though. They tack on the sappy feel-good ending they think we want and in doing so make the ideas they’ve halfway tried to convince us are plausible seem even less so.
Source Code is probably one of those headscratching films that require multiple viewings to piece together. Luckily, it offers sufficiently fastpaced action and attractive, competent leads to make it worth sitting through more than once. I’m looking forward to putting aside the physics textbook and taking that ride again.
Forget it, Jake — it’s time-reassignment town: Michelle Monaghan and Jake Gyllenhaal