Time travel and fate are explored in Source Code, a sci-fi thriller about a soldier sent to a parallel universe to figure out who bombed a Chicago commuter train. The film is delightfully entertaining and has some great mind-bending plot twists and turns. Not to mention, Jake Gyllenhaal proves he can hold his own as a leading action star.
Captain Colter Stevens (Gyllenhaal) wakes up to find himself in the body of an unknown man on a commuter train headed for Chicago. He soon learns, he is part of a military program called "Source Code" that allows a person to enter into the mind and body of another. He has been assigned to revisit the final eight minutes on that train before it's blown up in order to find out who is responsible for the bombing and to prevent another attack.
He is sent back to the same place and time, sitting across from fellow teacher Christina (Michelle Monaghan), over and over until he figures it out. He becomes convinced that he can save the people on the train, although his superiors assure him this is not possible.
There are so many layers and subplots throughout this film that it's hard to get bored for even a second. There is no downtime and the plot and script are so tight that the 93-minute run time feels like 30 minutes. It's a movie about time travel and the different tracks a person's life can take, but do they always end up the same -- in this case within an exploding train? That question is asked throughout the first 60 minutes, but the last few minutes change everything and it's presented with such amazing storytelling, you will be thinking about it long after the film is over.
It would seem a film going back to the same eight minutes would get tedious and repetitive, but the way director Duncan Jones captures all the different things happening in those eight minutes, you never feel like you're going back to the same chain of events twice.
Jake Gyllenhaal goes above and beyond for this film. You believe every second of his performance and he does it without a hitch. Usually action stars have absolutely no depth or character development - there's never time between all the action sequences, but Gyllenhaal plays Captain Stevens with great depth. You create a bond with his character and sympathize with what he is going through -- having to see the same deaths over and over. He brings a humanity to the film that might not have been there without him.
The end is little confusing and although everything is explained, it's definitely a mind-twister that might leave viewers a little unsure of what was actually going on throughout the film. Although this isn't really a bad thing because the film was so well edited and produced, it might leave some viewers feeling a little lukewarm about the movie.
Overall, Source Code is an action thriller at its finest. It isn't just senseless action sequences put together for reaction, it has thought and extreme ingenuity that makes it enjoyable to watch from start to finish.