27 November 2011 | claudio_carvalho
A Combination of Several Successful Films that Works
The US Army helicopter pilot Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) awakes in a commuter train to Chicago in the body of a professor named Sean Fentress, and his last memory is flying in Afghanistan. A woman named Christina Warren (Michelle Monaghan) talks to him; there are minor incidents in the wagon and eight minutes later, the train blows-up.
Captain Stevens wakes up in a coffined in a sort of trunk and is contacted by the military Lieutenant Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga). He learns that he had died in a helicopter crash and now he is inserted in a computer program called Source Code, developed by Dr. Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright), which transfers him to the body of a deceased person for the last eight minutes of his life using his after images. He is advised that he can not change the past, since Source Code is not a time machine, but he can reassign time and change the future. He is assigned to return to the train and find who the bomber is to avoid his next terrorist attack in Chicago downtown. Captain Stevens is sent back several times and he and Christina fall in love with each other. He decides to save the train from the explosion despite Dr. Rutledge tells him that that is effort is worthless.
I saw the trailer of "Source Code" a couple of months ago and I was anxiously waiting for its release on DVD in my country. Yesterday I saw it and the story is a flawed combination of several other films; despite of that, the film is engaging and works.
The character Captain Colter Stevens is visibly inspired in "Johnny Got His Gun" (1971) and his situation entering the body of someone else is the same of "Avatar" (2009) and "Surrogates" (2009), using the virtual concept of "The Matrix" (1999). The repetition of the same event over and over comes from "Groundhog Day" (1993) and "12:01" (1993). The different possibilities in timeline come from "Przypadek" (1981) and "Sliding Doors" (1998) and "The Butterfly Effect" (2004). Therefore, the writer Ben Ripley shows a great cinematographic culture in sci-fi and does the same that Quentin Tarantino does in action films, a rip-off that works.
The director Duncan Jones, from the best sci-fi of the Twentieth-First Century ("Lunar") so far, makes another great film in his second work, supported by the excellent performances of Jake Gyllenhaal, Vera Farmiga, Michelle Monaghan and Jeffrey Wright.
I watched this film with other viewers and in the end, we found two different interpretations for the conclusion of "Source Code". I believe that Captain Stevens has changed the timeline in the real world and the Source Code has never been used, in a time paradox. However, if my interpretation is right, Christina Warren should have been saved in one of Steven's attempt. The other interpretation is that he shifted his timeline to a parallel reality. No matter which interpretation is the correct one, everybody liked this very entertaining film. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): "Contra o Tempo" ("Against the Time")