US Marine Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) keeps waking up on a train, in the body of a man who he doesn’t know. He’s surrounded by people he doesn’t recognise and there’s a possibility he could be there for a higher purpose. That purpose, through a secret government project involving simulations, is to re-live the last eight minutes of someone’s life to track down the creator of a dirty bomb. His only guide on this journey is a woman that only Jake can see or hear. Yep, it’s Quantum Leap: The Movie AKA Source Code.
Directed by Duncan Jones, Source Code is an action movie that takes itself very, very seriously. In between Jake’s fact finding missions, he sits in a dark room discussing quantum physics and cause and effect with Jeffrey Wright and Vera Farmiga. And maybe that’s the largest problem we have with Source Code. We don’t mean to start out on a bum-note, but it’s very hard to take a film’s philosophising seriously when it’s science is a cross between The Matrix and Doctor Who. Okay, nearly all science fiction is pure hokum, but if you crack a smile once in a while it doesn’t seem so bad. And that ending! Gah! It just felt like someone was giving us $50 and asking us to say thank you while it farted in our face.
It’s not all bad. Gyllenhaal is perfectly believable in the lead and it’s a pleasure to watch Colter go from fist in the air, angry at the gods to swaggering superhero within the 90 minute run time. It’s also an extremely engaging piece of work despite all the furrowed brows. The whodunit of the act of terrorism is coupled with learning more about Colter and how he ended up being part of Source Code.
It won’t keep you guessing till the end credits (pretty much because it signposts the last few plot points), but you will actually want to see how it all play out.