Source Code (2011)

Source Code is the newest film by Duncan Jones, written by Ben Ripley and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Vera Farmiga, Michelle Monaghan and Jeffrey Wright.

Plot:
Colter (Jake Gyllenhaal) keeps waking up in a strange body on a train, 8 minutes before said train explodes. He is sent there by Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) and her boss Dr. Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright) to figure out who bombed the train. But at first it seems that the most success Colter is going to have is with fellow train passenger Christina (Michelle Monaghan). But as he gets more confident with his task, we also discover that there’s probably more behind the project than we thought at first.

I loved Source Code – up until the last 10 minutes or so. Everything was going so very well up until then: the plot had me hooked, the performances were great and the premise (while admittedly a bit ludicrous) worked. And then the ending just had me headdesking.

[SPOILERS]

Let me say again: I really loved most of the film. I was completely hooked on the plot and the story, I was invested in Colter as a character and while his relationship with Christina came a bit out of nowhere and didn’t get me excited, it just left me absolutely free to enjoy Colter’s relationship with Goodwin. That’s probably also to do with the fact that Vera Farmiga is just a tremendous actress and Michelle Monaghan is just okay. Jake Gyllenhaal was great and Jeffrey Wright was extremely creepy.

Moon is certainly a tough act to follow, and Source Code doesn’t quite reach it. But Duncan Jones doesn’t completely suffer from “Second Piece Sucks”-disorder (as so many people do) and I’m still excited to see what he’ll keep on doing.

Since I’m going to bitch about the ending, let me sum it up for you first. [So, in case you missed the first Spoiler Warning, here’s another.] So, basically: Rutledge developped a computer program that can simulate past events in extreme detail. And after Colter experienced extreme brain injuries, he could be hooked up with this computer program and use it to discover things that went previously unnoticed. [While that is still a gross misunderstanding of virtual reality, imo, it was consistent with itself and I bought it.]

Anyway, the movie ends with the computer simulation magically becoming time travel, Colter can prevent the explosion and runs away with Christina, effectively highjacking some poor guy’s body. And that ending is just stupid beyond compare. First of all, it ruins the science that was established before, second it means that they ditched a perfectly valid, satisfying and wonderful ending that was already done in favour of Teh Stoopid. If they had just stopped the film 10 minutes earlier, when everything on the train freezes at the perfect moment, the film would have left me perfectly happy. As it was, it left a sour taste in my mouth.

Summarising: A  brilliant movie with a crappy ending.

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