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Review: Source Code

After viewing three films consecutively, without breaks, I was expecting the third, Duncan Jones' Source Code to be a tiring experience. However, I was entirely wrong, I immediately perked up with the stunning, almost Hitchcockian opening sequence, a variety of high angle shots of Chicago and of the train that is central to the plot. The story follows a helicopter pilot serving in Afghanistan (Jake Gyllenhaal), who soon finds himself to be on a commuter train in Chicago. He soon learns that he is not in his own body and there is an explosive device on the train. However not, to fear for Jake he's actually in 'the source code', a technological development that allows him to inhabit another persons' being at a previous time - however only for 8 minutes. What may seem quite complicated and nonsensical from my description is actually presented in an intelligent and convincing way, which is difficult with a concept that may not seem very realistic. Kudos to Duncan Jones and writer, Ben Ripley for that.

Jake Gyllenhaal is excellently cast, he shows tremendous range - giving us a taste of his skills as a dramatic actor and proving he is still excellent in an action role. Jake is well supported by: stranger on a train, Michelle Monaghan, who brings a charm, warmth and elegance to her role and Vera Farmiga and Jeffrey Wright, both featuring in the source code control centre. Michelle and Jake have an wonderful onscreen chemistry (although I think both do with almost all their costars - they just seem like nice people) and are extremely convincing in their roles.

The Hitchcockian suggestions continue past the film's opening, this genuinely feels like the characters were taken out of a 1950s Hollywood movie. Jake's frequent confusion and determination make his character feel like North By Northwest's Roger Thornhill. Elements of secret identities, shadowy organisations, mysterious broads and of course the idea of danger on a train further the Hitchcockian feel. This gives the film a quite charming feel, despite being quite a big budget mainstream film.

When you enter territory that involves repeating the same concept over and over again in slightly different ways, it can soon become tiring. However, Jones handles the 8 minute in the source code concept well, keeping the direction stylish and exciting; so seeing almost the same scene never becomes dull or overbearing.
The films is also a perfect 90 or so minutes. It is concise, clean cut, clever and entertaining fun. However, as much as Jones clearly has a knack for the mainstream blockbuster, it would be nice to see him helm a few more smaller pictures.

Source Code 2868179361978424041

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