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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ‘Source Code’ needs decryption

    JAKE GYLLENHAAL and MICHELLE MONAGHAN star in SOURCE
    JAKE GYLLENHAAL and MICHELLE MONAGHAN star in SOURCE

    “”Inception”” meets “”Groundhog Day”” in the new action thriller, “”Source Code.”” Except that it lacks the mind-blowing concepts of “”Inception,”” and it’s not nearly as funny as “”Groundhog Day.”” Instead, “”Source Code”” is lost somewhere in between the two, which gets weird and confusing. Fast.

    The film follows Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal), a helicopter pilot in Afghanistan who inexplicably wakes up in another man’s body. Oh, and he’s aboard a train that’s about to blow up. Turns out, he’s part of an experimental military computer program called the Source Code (hey, there’s the title!). There’s a bomb on the train, and the government has sent Stevens into the past to find out who planted it. Let the high stakes game of “”Clue”” begin.

    As the film progresses, we uncover an underdeveloped plotline about Stevens’ personal life, and he enters into a halfhearted romance with predictable pretty-girl Christina (Michelle Monaghan). All the while, we learn more about the Source Code computer. Scientists tell Stevens that this isn’t time travel, so he can’t save the people on board the train. Instead, they’ve created a parallel universe which enables Stevens to relive the last eight minutes of someone else’s life using some strange “”shadow”” effect of their memories.

    Through this breed of techno-magic, “”Source Code”” is more sci-fi than anything else. Unfortunately, it depends on fringe science that’s poorly explained. The writers toss around a couple of buzz words like “”quantum physics”” and “”parabolic calculus,”” and that’s supposed to be enough to make the Source Code computer seem plausible. By the time the movie ends, the mechanics of the whole thing leave more unaddressed questions than hastily-supplied answers.

    But the film’s writing is lacking even beyond the cryptic pseudo science. Sexy as he is, not even Jake Gyllenhaal can make the line, “”maybe I’ll order you a pizza next time”” sound like the most vindictive comeback ever. And when he heroically claims that he’s about to “”save the world,”” it’s hard not to cringe at the corniness.

    Still, “”Source Code”” has some redeeming qualities. The film inevitably repeats the same eight minutes over and over again, but it manages to vary these scenes and intersperse them with other plotlines to maintain viewer interest. “”Source Code”” doesn’t fail as an action movie either. The special effects are impressive, the action is exciting and Gyllenhaal’s acting is good, as usual.

    So, “”Source Code”” doesn’t suck. But if you’re looking for the next brain-bender, this isn’t it. “”Source Code”” is an interesting movie that had a lot of potential, but falls short. You better hope you never find yourself doomed to watch eight minutes of this film over and over for eternity.

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