As somebody with a geeky background, I was quite sceptical when I heard the title of this movie. In techie-speak, “source code” is the lines of commands that programmers do to complete a task – from displaying a “Hello World” on the screen to controlling supermarket checkout counters. The term is also freely used in businesses in different contexts.
In the movie Source Code, directed by Duncan Jones, “Source Code” is a system that taps into the 8-minute post-mortem memory. According to the movie, after a person dies, the brain still functions for eight minutes – recording what happens before death occurs. The laboratory, headed by the seemingly vain and unsympathetic Dr Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright), transports a decorated soldier, Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) into the eight-minutes that were experienced by a history teacher, Sean Fentress before he died in a train bomb. He is given the task by Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) of finding who the bomber was and where it was kept. However, in the process he also discovers more about himself as well as about a potential life that he could have with a lady who he meets in the train, Christina Warren (Michelle Monaghan).
The movie is enjoyable as it infuses the movie with the notions of quantum physics and parallel universe – as well as with the question of feelings, emotions and ethics in human research. The action sequences are also good, with Gyllenhaal and Farmiga holding the fort to keep the movie with its feet on the ground. The storyline isn’t as convoluted (and yet enjoyable) as Inception – however on the other hand, I feel that the tension doesn’t reach its possible heights. It’s like a car that doesn’t shift into the fifth gear and going back and forth from the third to the fourth gear during the action sequences. The ending is also nicely wrapped – which is typical of American films – although it does leave (a minor) food for thoughts on what happens now to Captain Colter Stevens and Christina Warren. It’s not as ambiguous as Inception. Perhaps comparison to Inception is unfair to the director and the writer – however, both stories share a similarity in tapping into the unconscious mind and manipulating the ‘parallel reality’: one through dreams and the other one through the post-mortem short term memory.
As mentioned, this is an enjoyable movie for a Saturday evening – not too fluffy, but not too gritty either. Just right.