Movie Review: SOURCE CODE (2011) – A Different Spin On Time Travel

Published by Shah Shahid on

MOON was a brilliant film. A little slow, but I appreciated the talent and effort behind Director Duncan Jones’ debut film. I was severely excited and awaiting his next. And it is in every way, a bigger film than MOON, and I was not disappointed with SOURCE CODE at all.

Rating: 3 Out Of 5

SOURCE CODE is different. It falls along the lines of INCEPTION, but a lot more subtly and under the radar. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, SOURCE CODE is about an invention that allows Cpt. Colter Stevens to go back in time prior to a disastrous terrorist attack, to gather as much information as possible. An attack that actually did take place, just hours before. The catch: He can only go back 8 minutes before the attack, and must always go through the same 8 minutes to try to gather as much information about the attack and attacker as he can, to prevent future attacks of the same kind.

First of all: it’s gut wrenching to see this guy go through the same death at the end of each 8 minutes, over and over. Secondly: there’s a lot more to the film than that. If it wasn’t evident with Jones’ first attempt, SOURCE CODE also has a lot going on under the surface, and the audience gets a sense of something not being right from the first few minutes.


A very small cast and simple premise, but SOURCE CODE works on a few layers, that are out to confused and befuddle us. It’s a movie that requires some thought even after the credits roll, to be able to put it all together.

Continuing on what he thinks initially is a simulation, Stevens has to go through the same scenario in order to come up with suspects, and find out about them, in order to relay the information to the authorities so they can apprehend the suspect in real time.

Jake Gyllenhaal gets better with each film it seems, to me. His recent BROTHERS had me applauding his awesome-ness. SOURCE CODE is nothing extravagant when it comes to showcasing his chops as an actor, but he is able to pull off the wide range of emotions a character in that situation would go through, very seamlessly.

Michelle Monaghan was adequate in her insignificant role. Vera Farmiga, was quite restraint compared to her other characters, however it was a refreshing change. Jeffrey Wright is great as, more or less the antagonist of the film. Stemming from a character actor background, this guy is always a pleasure to watch.

SOURCE CODE is compelling, engaging and innovative cinema that doesn’t follow the usual formula for thrillers. The story is original, without stepping on similar concepts or being too technically complex. The simplicity of it is what works best. Again, I put SOURCE CODE in the same style of storytelling as INCEPTION due to the mind blowing concept it puts forth and the end result.

As before director Duncan Jones puts out a wicked film with SOURCE CODE that will leave you gaping at the screen even post credits, trying to put it all together in your head.

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Shah Shahid

Entertainment Writer | Film & TV Critic | Bollywood Blogger | Host of Split Screen Podcast | Proud Geek Girl Dad


CMrok93 · September 5, 2011 at 5:36 AM

The inspired direction from Duncan Jones kept me on the edge of my seat, I just wish that the script didn’t end up being so lame, especially with that crap ending. However, I had a good time with it. Good Review! Check out my site when you can!

    Shah Shahid · September 5, 2011 at 9:58 AM

    I agree. The ending was too lofty and whimsical. For such a great thriller, sometimes the focus became too… emotional and the tone got very whiny. Over all I enjoyed it. Thanks. Will do.

David · September 10, 2011 at 8:59 AM

I heard great things about Source Code, and it’s too bad I missed it in theater. Glad to hear another voice in favor of it!

    Shah Shahid · September 10, 2011 at 11:56 PM

    It was pretty innovative. Sure, a lot of people had issues with possible ‘plot holes’ and what not. But SOURCE CODE is a movie that has to be experience keeping it’s tone in mind. In which case what are plot holes can easily be explained using the audience’s own imagination. Which is what the movie does… especially the ending. Don’t expect it to explain everything… it just is.

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