Friday, April 1, 2011

Source Code Review

If you believe that the premise of Source Code is farfetched and complete fantasy, perhaps you should look at quantum mechanics. No, I'm not suggesting you study physics before you see this movie. But if you look at experiments by Dr. Daryl Bem, you will enjoy Source Code even more. Bem was interviewed by Stephen Colbert for a segment he called "Time Traveling Porn." Video below. Bem has an idea that man can fortell the future. His experiments indicated that students could fortell pictures of a naughty nature. I'm not kidding. He attributes success in this type of ESP to quantum mechanics. Anyway, mix with that the concept of alternate reality and how the mind can change reality in the mind, and you'll see Source Code is not that farfetched.

Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) is an army officer who is participating in a top secret mission. Colter? Where does Hollywood get these names? What next? Macho Magnum? But I digress. The mission? Leap into a dead man's mind in the last eight minutes of his life. You see the man was killed on a train with a bomb hidden aboard. The terrorist who bombed the train will unleash an even greater bomb, a dirty nuclear bomb on Chicago. The government needs Stevens to find the identity of the bomber. He's guided by Major Collen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) with project leader Dr. Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright) overseeing the process. The problem is that Stevens is unable to determine the bomber after one leap. He must be continually sent back to the man's death. Complicating things is that he's falling in love with his friend on the train, Christina. (Michelle Monaghan)

Accessing memories is not a new topic to science fiction. So if you can accept that, you'll get by the first part. And once you hear Dr. Rutledge tell you that the Source Code is a program that can let a person access another man's memory with the help of quantum mechanics, you're on the path where you can see how the "Source Code" makes sense. Just mix in time travel, alternate reality, and the fact your mind can manipulate reality.

Ben Ripley has written an ingenious and emotional movie. Once you think the film is illogical, Ripley provides an explanation. For example, you might think that he cannot alter a memory but you are in formed that the mind can construct different realities. Director Duncan Jones comes off his very good film, Moon (2009) to help create an excellent and taught thriller. Ripley and Jones turn the screws until you think the movie must go a certain way but then brilliantly twists it into another reality. It's reminiscent of a the TV show "The Twilight Zone" meeting "The Matrix."

Ths cast is perfect. Jake Gyllenhaal shows heroic humanism. Michelle Monaghan does what she does best. She's charming. That's tough since it's hard to flesh out the relationship between her Christine and Gyllenaal's character. Jeffrey Wright is dead on as the scientist with a single purpose. And as for Vera Farmiga, you've got to have a great face to look at when Stevens is looking at the viewscreeen displaying his handler. Farmiga is both beautiful physically and personally. She exudes empathy. She has the face one could stare at for hours. Scott Bakula of Star Trek: Enterprise and Quantum Leap has voice cameo. It's a cool inside joke. Get it? Quantum leap.

I can't say enough good things about this film. It's as smart as 2001: A Space Odyssey. Yes, when you leave the theater, you'll be thinking, about altering reality and the characters that we have met. Source Code is thrilling and intelligent science fiction film. The grade is A +.

Stephen Colbert interviews Dr. Bem about Time Traveling Porn.

Trailer for Source Code.

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