â€œSource Code,â€ the latest film from sci-fi wunderkind Duncan Jones, is an accessible brand of smart science fiction that will appeal to both techies and general moviegoers alike.
The movie stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Captain Colter Stevens, a U.S. helicopter pilot trapped inside of a laboratory capsule tasked with discovering the whereabouts of a bomb aboard a commuter train.
The only problem is, the bomb already went off. Â Stevens has to use the source code â€“â€“ a high tech military program that allows users to be transported into someone elseâ€™s body for the last eight minutes of their life â€” to unlock the mystery of the bombing and to prevent a larger scale attack.
Jones renounces the ultra-indie intimidation of his last project â€œMoonâ€ and instead elects for a much more accessible, mainstream feel with â€œSource Code.â€
Stevensâ€™ successive trips back into the source code reveal new information each time around to help solve the mystery about the bomber. This puzzle keeps the audience engaged even when the majority of the movie plays back the same scene over and over again.
As with â€œMoon,â€ Jones poses deeper ethical issues but does not completely explore them this time around. He keeps the eerie isolation bit to a minimum, electing to up the explosions instead.
For this reason, â€œSource Codeâ€ feels like a slightly dumbed-down version of a larger Jonesâ€™ idea, kept at bay by Hollywood execs.Â (The muddled forcing of a happy ending feels like it was heavily influenced by studio bigwigs).
Even so, Jones puts more than enough intelligence and originality into â€œSource Codeâ€ to make it not only extremely entertaining, but thought provoking (gasp) as well. Â Best movie of 2011 so far.
Movie reviewer Jason Berlinberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and can be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/jasonberlinberg. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â