The latest from Duncan Jones (director of the cult hit, "Moon"), "Source Code" is a brisk and raw sci-fi/action film that opens with Sean (Jake Gyllenhaal) waking up on a commuter train across from Christina (Michelle Monaghan), who quickly notices that Sean isn't acting himself. This would be because Sean isn't Sean, but Captain Colter Stevens, who tells Christina that he's a pilot who flies choppers in Afghanistan. Uncertain of where he is and why, what appears to be a bad dream becomes stranger when he looks in the bathroom mirror and sees someone else. 8 minutes into the train ride, the train explodes and he wakes up in a room being debriefed by an army general (Vera Farmiga), who informs him that he has been able to take over the last minutes of Sean's life in order to try to figure out who was behind the attack, as they may strike again.
The movie bounces back to the 8 minutes again and again, with Stevens trying to figure out the mystery piece-by-piece, with a different approach each time. However, with no knowledge of how he found himself in the project, he tries to figure out how he became involved. Additionally, he tries to figure out if there's any way that he can save Christina. One other question: why does the pod Stevens is in appear to be in worse and worse condition every time he jumps?
Director Duncan Jones has to face a few serious issues with the picture, starting with the fact that the audience has to relive the same short period of time over and over again throughout the movie. Writer Ben Ripley's script succeeds in changing up the situation nicely each time and while there is a significant twist, it actually manages to work in the movie's favor. While maybe it's just my experience, the twist was expected enough that when it happened, it didn't take me out of the movie.
Moreover, Gyllenhaal's powerful performance actually makes this layer of the movie powerful and emotional. The picture also benefits from tight pacing and, as a result, the film's plot holes are really not much of a concern. Monaghan, Farmiga and Jeffrey Wright provide solid supporting efforts, but Gyllenhaal really has to carry the movie and succeeds quite nicely.
It's not without some moderate concerns, but "Source Code" is another fine effort from the director, who turns this tale into a tight and tense film.
VIDEO: "Source Code" is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen on this DVD edition. The film's chilly, subdued look transferred nicely to the small screen on this DVD edition. Image quality remained pleasing, with images that looked sleek and clean - sharpness and detail appeared pleasing, aside from a few softer moments here-and-there. Some slight artifacting was also noticed in a few scenes, but was not much of a concern. Colors looked mostly cool and appeared accurately presented.
SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation provides moments of aggressive surround use for sound effects, but the majority of the film's audio is forward-oriented, with mild-to-moderate ambience from the rear speakers heard at times. Audio quality is excellent, with clear dialogue and clean, well-recorded effects.
EXTRAS: A terrific commentary from director Duncan Jones, actor Jake Gyllenhaal and writer Ben Ripley provides a good deal of insights into the filmmaking process; cast insights, animated looks at the film's topics and trivia track.
Final Thoughts: It's not without some moderate concerns, but "Source Code" is another fine effort from the director, with a very good performance from Gyllenhaal.
The Film B+