Thursday, April 14, 2011

SOURCE CODE -- my review

SOURCE CODE is a techno-thriller meets GROUNDHOG DAY. I guess because television now does drama and suspense far better than the movies (and you never have to worry about Matthew McConaughey starring in any of them), Hollywood now believes every feature thriller has to be high-concept. Hence INCEPTION, THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU, HOP. But of all these recent big idea films, SOURCE CODE is by far the best.

And here’s why.

You probably know the premise. A decorated soldier gets put on a commuter train to Chicago to try to uncover a bomb and a terrorist in eight minutes. And when he fails he just keeps going back and going back. So a large portion of the movie is set on this train. And when it is, SOURCE CODE becomes a movie about human behavior. There’s no whiz-bang special effects. No one walks through portals. The city doesn’t fold into itself. Thor doesn't save the day.

It’s just a regular guy trying to solve a tricky puzzle and along the way establish a romantic relationship… while the fate of the world hangs in the balance.

Jake Gyllenhaal is the guy and is terrific. Michelle Monaghan is the girl and you could see why Jake, or anybody, would want to fall in love with her. Too bad Jake wasn’t a Zoloft salesman like he was in his last movie. The sex scenes between him and Monaghan would have been sweet! So the world blows up? Earn that Hard-R!

Another standout in the movie for me was Vera Farmiga. I just find her so sexy. And when you can look hot when wearing your hair up and in an Air Force uniform, to me that’s the true test.

Kudos to Ben Ripley for a wildly imaginative script. And Duncan Jones' top notch directing made the implausible premise seem almost plausible. 

Oh sure, you’ll walk out pondering, “Just how does this time warp concept work again?”, and "Isn't there a food car on this train?"  But at least they set up rules and seemed to abide by them. All too often in these techno-thrill rides they just keep making up new ones as they go along. Well, it turns out there’s a black hole that if you go through while in REM sleep during Passover you have your choice of being invisible or getting zero down on the purchase of a new Prius.

But I highly recommend SOURCE CODE. And the great thing is, if you get to the theater a little late, it pretty starts over every eight minutes!

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