The complexity and creativity of the human mind never seize to impress, and when the two merge the result can be mind blowing. ‘Source Code’ comes from that space and also recreates it. The blend of reality with sci-fi is so smooth it seems effortless.
It begins on a vague note as the protagonist himself tries to get a bearing of his surroundings. After his helicopter crashes in Afghanistan, US Army helicopter pilot Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) awakens to a new body and identity on a train to Chicago. Seated across is a pretty girl Christina (Michelle Monaghan) who seems to be in the middle of a conversation with him. Completely baffled he tries his best to grasp the situation, until 8 minutes later a bomb explodes.
What should have been the end of his life transports him to a mechanical vestibule, strapped up and being questioned incessantly by a lady named Goodwin (Vera Farmiga), on the other side of the video screen. All his questions are irrelevant as he is continuously sent back to the train where his mission is to identify the bomber. Every time he has only 8 minutes till the explosion.
Those 8 minutes are a snippet of the past, generated by time reassessment in a parallel reality. In two words: Source Code. As the situation gets clearer, his existence in a parallel universe makes him go through a multitude of emotions that follow a very natural pattern. Those thoughts and feelings that run through him are relatable and seamlessly blended into the thrill of the situation.
The movie may go back to the same 8 minutes but it doesn’t stagnate even for a moment. As it progresses it unravels valuable facts as Stevens questions passengers, delves into his own reality and creates a rapport with both women, real and surreal. It doesn’t just stop there. Stevens’ inquisitive nature explores another possibility as he starts believing in the parallel reality. Can that universe truly exist?
Jake Gyllenhaal delivers an outstanding performance. There is attention to detail with every character, and each actor does justice to his part, small or big. The humour comes across more through the mannerisms, expressions and the smaller nuances of the characters, rather than the dialogue. But the dialogue is clear and explanatory, making it easy to understand the concept.
The outrageousness of the idea is mellowed by simple additions. The climax opens a whole new world of possibilities but it reminds you that it’s the little pleasures in life that count – laughing, spontaneity or enjoying a moment. As Colter Stevens says “Don’t sweat the small stuff”.