Sunday, April 10, 2011

Source Code

When I was a kid one of my favorite shows I would watch with my Dad was Quantum Leap with Scott Bakula as Dr. Sam Beckett.  He was a scientist who discovered an interesting way to time travel, he'd step into the accelerator and his consciousness would transport to another person through time travel. He couldn't control when he would leap but the rules were that he could only leap within his own timeline. His mission was to put right what once went wrong with the hope that his next leap would bring him home to his own time. It was a really great show and a great concept for time travel. It lasted about three years and was unfortunately canceled. Now you are wondering why am I talking about an obscure show from the 90's when I should be reviewing Source Code? Other than a few changes this kind of Quantum Leap is exactly what happens to Jake Gyllenhaal's character Captain Colter Stevens in Source Code. I recognized from the trailers what it was referencing but I didn't realize how much, and it was a real treat to see what appears to be a more updated version of Quantum Leap up on the big screen.
Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) wakes up on a train with a face that he does not recognize. After 8 minutes of confusion a bomb explodes and Captain Stevens finds himself trapped inside a chamber with a image of a Captain Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) on the viewsceen, who tells the Captain that he is apart of a mission called Source Code that allows his consciousness to transport to a passenger on a train that was blown up that morning by a possible terrorist cell. He has eight minutes everytime he enters the Source Code to determine where the bomb is and who set it in order to avert another possible attack. This is kind of like Quantum leap meets 12 Monkeys. . It's not clear whether or not Captain Colter can alter the past but only study the tragedy in order to piece together clues in order to stop this from happening again. The scientist who created the Source Code, Doctor Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright), explains that the Source Code is only meant to be used to study and analyze, according to him the current reality we are living in is not able to be changed. Therefore it doesn't matter what Captain Colter does while in the Source Code. Which creates a dilemma for him cause he begins to form feelings for a woman, Christina (Michelle Monaghan), who is in a relationship with the passenger that is now inhabiting Captain Colter.
This was a really clever and fun flick, well written and executed. In the beginning it felt a lot like Groundhog Day as Colter is trying to learn about his surroundings. He takes an all business approach at first but he comes to appreciate the other innocent people on the train which fuels his determination to try and save them all. There is some really nice humor here among all the confusion and it balances out nicely. I still have yet to see Director Duncan Jones' directorial debut Moon, but I can see why this guy is in high demand. He really builds an interesting moral problem for Captain Colter while slowly peeling away his own mysterious past and why he is in the predicament he's in. There is a nice twist here that, in my mind, plays really well but I promise I won't reveal what that is here. But I was rather proud of my picking up the identity of the actor doing the voice of Colter's father. When I came home I had to make sure and there it was on IMDB, Captain Colter's Fathers voice was of course---Scott "Sam Beckett" Bakula. I'm willing to bet that the writer and possibly the director were big fans of Quantum Leap and got him as a wink to the fans. It's very possible, if they wanted to, there could be a sequel potential here and if they were to do it you can bet I would be one of the first to line up for it. We are gearing up for the Summer blockbusters but until then, if you haven't seen Limitless yet, then you should really go and check out this very clever thriller.
Grade 4 Buckets

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