The 2011 smartly-written time-bending thriller, Source Code, arrived on 4K Ultra HD this past week giving audiences the opportunity to watch the sci-fi thriller over and over.
It’s right before Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) truly comes to terms in learning he’s in the body of teacher Sean Fentress (Frédérick De Grandpré) in which the Chicago Commuter Rail train explodes. Even though it’s a sci-fi thriller, there’s an added layer of romance between Fentress and Christina Warren (Michelle Monaghan). No matter what happens to everyone on the board the train, it’s as if you want the two of them to end up together.
Captain Stevens had been fighting a mission overseas in Afghanistan only to learn that he’s now a part of a experimental government program called Source Code. Air Force Captain Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) is in charge of overseeing the mission to find out who placed the bomb on the train. Goodwin is also the one who has to explain to Stevens why he’s a part of the mission and what exactly Source Code is. We learn that the program enables someone to cross over into a dead person’s identity within the final eight minutes of their life.
The stakes are high for Stevens to find the bomber because there’s another potential attack that could wipe out several million in downtown Chicago. If Stevens can’t disarm the bomb and find the guy, who is later revealed to be Derek Frost (Michael Arden), the lives of more than just those on the train are at stake. Every time that Stevens goes back into the Source Code in order to gather more clues, he wants to save Christina’s life. This goes against the orders of Goodwin and her boss, Dr. Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright).
It’s only in the final act in which we learn not only does the program work but it works better than anybody could ever have expected.
It’s because of Stevens going back into those final minutes repeatedly that one can draw the comparisons to Groundhog Day and to extent, Murder on the Orient Express. In saying so, it would be doing a heavy disservice to all three of the films because screenwriter Ben Ripley has crafted one heck of a time-bending sci-fi thriller. There’s a lot of technical details involved and Duncan Jones’ direction, combined with the acting performances, that take us for a wild ride.
Among sci-fi thrillers made over the last decade, Source Code is certainly up there.
- Audio commentary with director Duncan Jones, writer Ben Ripley and actor Jake Gyllenhaal
- “5 Crazy Details You Might Have Missed” Featurette
DIRECTOR: Duncan Jones
SCREENWRITER: Ben Ripley
CAST: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, and Jeffrey Wright
Following the world premiere at the 2011 SXSW Film Festival, Summit Entertainment originally released Source Code in theaters on April 1, 2011. The film was released on 4K Ultra HD on May 8, 2018.