At the Movies: Source Code

Did you ever wish someone would remake the comedy “Groundhog Day” as an action thriller? If so, wish granted.

Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Capt. Colter Stevens, a helicopter pilot in Iraq. One morning he wakes up to find himself on a commuter train heading into Chicago. The woman sitting across from him, Christina Warren (Michelle Monaghan), acts like she knows him, but calls him a different name.

A glance in a mirror reveals Colter is in someone else’s body. But before he can process what’s going on, a bomb goes off, killing everyone on board.

Colter wakes up in his own body, in a small room with a monitor. On the screen is mission commander  Carol Goodwin (Vera Farmiga), who begins pumping him for information about the bombing.

Colter thinks he’s in some intense simulation exercise, but the truth is far more far out. He’s unwittingly been made part of a secret government project that involves time travel and mind transference. And to think, some people think the government can’t do anything.

It turns out the train bombing has already occurred, but using a procedure developed by Dr. Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright), Colter’s mind can be transferred into the body of one of the passengers, but only within the eight minutes before the bomb goes off. The bomber has threatened to set off a more deadly explosion later in the day, so Colter’s mission is to locate him before he gets off the train so he can identify him to the authorities.

Eight minutes isn’t much time, so Colter is forced to relive the explosion over and over as he pieces together the crime. Worse, with each stop he becomes more attached to Christina, but her death has already happened and there’s nothing he can do to stop it.

Does time travel make your head hurt too?

Despite its outlandish sci-fi premise, “Source Code” is a clever, action-packed thriller. There are twists and turns around every corner, and the eight-minute time limit puts everything on a heightened sense of tension.

“Source Code” is another smart sci-fi tale from director Duncan Jones, whose 2009 release “Moon” was equally clever. The acting is strong and the special effects are — well — explosive.

Did it work for me? Yes. I have some qualms about the ending but I shouldn’t talk about them now. Go see it and we’ll talk later.





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