Source Code (2011)

I liked it, but with reservations.  It was engaging, had an interesting story, tremendous actors all around, and it kept me thinking.  I do not like the gaping plot hole that is basically explained as “Oh hey, you guys were wrong, it’s so much more powerful than you thought.”  3.5 / 5

This is going to be my first (and most likely last) attempt at a running commentary for a movie I’m watching.  So there will be SPOILERS.

Really thrilling music has been playing over all these scenic shots of big cities and highways.  Ooh there’s the train from Unstoppable.  No wait, just a different train.  Duncan Jones, that’s, David Bowie’s son I believe, directed the wonderfully minimalist Moon.  Hey it’s Michelle Monaghan, who I’ve had a crush on since Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang.  Jake Gyllenhaal (dunno if that’s right, might just become a running joke that I CAN’T SPELL IT RIGHT).

Is that Russell Peters?  Why is he in .. well, why would anyone think to put him in this movie?  I’m sure it’ll be a racially charged character or something.  Although if it’s not Peters, the joke will be on me that I think they all look alike.  HA HA.  So we’re on a train to Chicago – home of CM Punk – and this train appears to be going really fast.  Gylls is freaking out, and holy shit it’s Quantum Leap when he looks in the mirror!  Already I’m hoping for some Dean Stockwell in this movie.

WHOA RANDOM FIREBALL EXPLOSIONS TRAIN DERAILMENTS and now blue flame and Gylls is vacantly looking up… or down apparently since he was upside down.  He’s totally having a Sam moment where he can’t remember things.  Vera Farmiga is in this as well, great, another actress I find unconventionally attractive.  Now everything’s coming back to Gylls.  Kickass, Jeffrey Wright is in this too.  Sometimes I do zero research on these movies, just so you know.

Okay, so apparently Gylls has eight minutes to discover who and how the train done blew up when he Quantum Leaps into one of the passengers, some dude that is getting lucky face time with Monaghan.  Okay, so, I’m trying to figure out the limitations of this premise as we go along.  Apparently Gylls thinks this is a sim.  So wait, is Russell Peters playing Himself?  I’m not sure if this version is the proper version.  There was a weird scene in between something that didn’t seem right.  I WILL IGNORE IT.

This time around he knows what he’s doing and is actually investigating the scene of the crime.  Oh but he thinks that it is still a sim, not that he’s possessing someone temporarily.  Gylls just randomly fucked up some dude’s jaw and then the TRAIN BLEW UP AGAIN.  OH GOD, this movie would be intensely traumatic if I had gone through some sort of train derailment/bombing.  Hey remember that horrible incident that just happened?  Wait eight more minutes and YOU GET TO SEE IT AGAIN.

Gylls has completely forgotten who he is and what he’s doing, and the movie hasn’t explained it yet but they’re doing it right now.  Okay, so I’m guessing it’s a bit like Deja Vu but… not.  They’re trying to figure out who blew up the train because it’s apparently the first in a series of attacks.  Although how they know that is not explained.  Anyways, I don’t get it, the giant hole in this premise is that he’s leaped into the body of this person from several hours before to investigate the scene of the crime and find out who did it, but he’s actually altering certain instances throughout this time frame.  It’s like Deja Vu mixed with Groundhog Day with more terror.

So now he’s trying to deviate from the path of these people.  And that weird scene just happened again.  I think I got a weird torrent.  And then it repeated again!  What the hell.  So now Gylls thinks he has the culprit.  I think the movie still has about an hour to go, so I’m thinking he’s wrong.  WHAT THE HELL that hand dryer scene again!  This is so very odd.  Well it wasn’t that guy, ’cause the train blew up and now he’s getting to die in a new horribly traumatic way!  It totally is Groundhog Eight Minutes except now he’s back in the real world and they are having equipment malfunctions.  Gylls appears to be sealed in a sensory deprivation tank of some sort… with his own tool belt.

Jeffrey Wright looks like he’s about three scenes away from saying he’s too old for this shit.  Oh Wright is the inventor of the Quantum Leap capsule that sends Gylls into that time frame, which is apparently the “Source Code” of one of the victims short term eight minute memory.  Not time travel, time reassignment.  Got that?  Gylls is basically playing the part of the audience here, saying “WHAT THE FUCK EXPLAIN NOW what aren’t you telling me here?”.  Oh okay, so someone has taken credit for the explosion and they’ve got a bigger bang planned.

Okay, now they just told Gylls to go get a gun and that he’s authorized to use whatever force to investigate this bombing.  Well who fucking cares, he’s not influencing anything lasting in those eight minutes, he could throw a baby out a window and rape a grandmother in this eight minutes if he wanted to, it wouldn’t change anything for anyone but him.  Because he’d have to live with the fake memory of raping that baby and throwing grandma from the train or whatever.  Oh man, he got okey-doaked by a transit cop and thanks a lot outside people, he got screwed and blown up looking for that gun.  Now he’s mocking them for it.  Wonderful.

Okay, we’re back in, and Gylls just asked so very specifically if Monaghan “has the Internet on her phone”.  I think he’s trying to get laid in one of these eight minute segments.  Now he’s just being all overtly creepy to some of the passengers, getting all up in their shit.  I think he should just randomly start punching people.  OH THERE’S THE GRANDMA HE RAPED.  Bing.  Does using a search engine count as product placement?  The ghost of Pat Morita just walked through a scene.

Okay, so Gylls got Monaghan to do some research on a friend of his, but that friend apparently died two months before, and he’s been part of this Source Code team for two months.  Hmmmm.  Ohhh so the friend was actually Gylls’, and apparently he’s dead.  What.  But a bit of his brain survived.  We are through the looking glass, people.  Wright is playing mad scientist quite well here.  YAY, if Gylls accomplishes the task, he gets to die!  Worst incentive ever.

Ugh, I really don’t need to see slo-mo of Monaghan being disintegrated by fire, over and over again.  How can he be exhausted, he’s already dead!  Now they’re taunting him with audio footage of his dad to INSPIRE HIM.  He’s got the gun this time, he’s found the bomb, and the cell phone that is the trigger for it!  Movie over!  No wait, it’s still going, he’s calling the number, and it is supposed to be the passenger who’s blowing up the train.  This guy George looks Tolkien-esque.  I’m truly shocked that it was the character that was shown over and over again in a meaningless fashion.

Gylls jumps off the moving train like a badass and flops around like a rag doll.  Hey, that licence plate has my city in its combo, CGY.  Weird, the things you notice.  Okay, so in this version of the Source Code he’s actually seemingly stopping the guy responsible, soooo will the train still explode?  Oh fuck that dude just shot both Gylls and Monaghan.  Now the villain is monologuing, and the train didn’t explode, but Gylls got shot so I’m guessing he’ll still die at the end of the longest eight minutes yet.  WAIT, no that was just a red herring apparently, or the guy had a back-up cell phone plan.  ERGH.

Aw, how noble, he wants to go back in to save all those people, even though he’s seemingly cracked the case and saving all those people actually won’t save them.  How does the news get information about the dude’s vehicle?  That’s just silly.  Okay, so now Gylls is getting all existential here, and Farmiga is talking him down from the ledge.  Talking the dead guy down from the ledge.  The biggest plot hole here is that the Source Code is based on the surviving eight minutes of short term memory being used to explore that environment on the train, which the guy on the train had not explored at all.  It should be like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind where things were just blank because the information was not there.

Alright, so Gylls gets one more shot to save the day!  He even gets a super hero line too.   And we speed through some of the eight minutes, and he finds the secondary phone.  This is kinda like Majora’s Mask where you had to do certain things over and over again at the right time with the right people and items.  Now in the real world, Wright wants to memory wipe the droids.. er, Gylls so he can continue you to save future lives and enjoy lots of emotional trauma while still being a dead guy.  But Gylls is stopping the explosion, this time for good, and in the Source Code he’s texting Farmiga or sending her a message or something.  Oh, also calling his father.

Ew, Gylls’ corpse, still semi-animate, with the back of his head cut off and wires going into his brain.  So what happens at the end of these eight minutes?  SOMETHING HAS TO HAPPEN.  Oh of course, he’s going to get lynch mobbed by all the passengers on this train.  He just paid Russell Peters money to make the passengers laugh.  40 seconds left.  Oh and then it just pauses.  It’s a perfectly alright ending, but it also feels like a cop out.

WAITASEC, huh?  So wait, what.  Gylls saved the day and is alive in this alternate reality?  What about the guy whose spot he took?  I’m sure it’ll only be a matter of time before Cracked writes an article about this.  Did Gylls just create an alternate timeline?  APPARENTLY he did!  I’m wondering if this ending was a changed ending based on test audiences!  Time to research!

Nice, apparently the voice of Gylls’ dad was Scott Bakula, who of course was Sam in Quantum Leap.  Read some more about it if you like on the Wiki or on IMDb.

I cannot promise I will never do this again, but I will try to keep it in Tweet form.

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About SkoochXC
Long-time blogger, Canadian, cine-snark-aphile, Tweeter and generally lonely hearted guy.

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