Time af­ter time

Pasatiempo - - Moving Images - Laurel Glad­den For The New Mex­i­can

Source Code, “time re­as­sign­ment” thriller, rated PG-13, Re­gal Sta­dium 14, 3 chiles A hand­some, scruffy young man is nap­ping on a com­muter train, lean­ing his head against the win­dow. He wakes up, look­ing dis­ori­ented, as most of us would, but in­stead of stretch­ing, yawn­ing, and start­ing up a con­ver­sa­tion with his fel­low pas­sen­gers, he glances around, wide-eyed, be­wil­dered, and slightly pan­icked.

Jake Gyl­len­haal is Capt. Colter Stevens, an Army pilot who served in Afghanistan and who has no idea where he is, how he got there, or where he’s headed. He also doesn’t rec­og­nize the lovely young woman (Michelle Mon­aghan) sitting across from him and cheer­fully chat­ting away as though noth­ing is amiss. Colter ex­cuses him­self to the bath­room, where a hes­i­tant glance in the mir­ror re­veals the face of a dif­fer­ent man — a mil­que­toast teacher. A few min­utes later, the train ex­plodes, killing ev­ery­one on­board.

Ex­cept Colter, ap­par­ently, who comes to in an omi­nous-look­ing cap­sule straight out of the Twi­light Zone. Via com­puter mon­i­tors, a woman in uni­form named Good­win (Vera Farmiga) gets his at­ten­tion, calms him down, and de­briefs him — al­though you can tell she’s not putting all her cards on the ta­ble.

Colter, she even­tu­ally de­clares, is part of a covert mil­i­tary ex­per­i­ment called Source Code. Us­ing quan­tum physics and “par­a­bolic cal­cu­lus,” sci­en­tists have found a way to har­ness the elec­tri­cal “af­ter­glow” of brain ac­tiv­ity in re­cently de­ceased peo­ple, link a live brain with sim­i­lar char­ac­ter­is­tics to that ac­tiv­ity, and send that brain back to a point eight min­utes be­fore those in­di­vid­u­als met their demise. Or some­thing like that.

Al­though the teacher is dead, Colter has been tasked with re­liv­ing his last eight min­utes — re­peat­edly — un­til he finds the bomber on the train. If he can ex­tract that in­for­ma­tion, the mil­i­tary can thwart the ter­ror­ist’s plans to det­o­nate a dirty bomb in down­town Chicago later in the day. Just in case Colter starts feel­ing heroic, though, his han­dler in­forms him that he can’t pre­vent the ex­plo­sion on the train or save any of the pas­sen­gers — that “re­al­ity” has al­ready hap­pened and is ce­mented in the past. “This isn’t time travel,” says the vaguely sin­is­ter mas­ter­mind-in-chief ( Jef­frey Wright). “It’s time re­as­sign­ment.” Huh? You could get all cere­bral about Source Code, the sopho­more pro­ject from di­rec­tor Dun­can Jones ( Moon), with a screen­play by Ben Ri­p­ley. You could scratch your head, try to com­pre­hend all the quan­tum clap­trap, use your iPad’s white­board app to sketch out time­lines and loops of re­al­ity un­til your

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