Few films can play with the idea of going back and forth in time and still be successful. Frequently, the replay of the same scenes again and again makes the audience bored and disinterested. However, in his new movie, The Source Code, director Duncan Jones brilliantly retains the audience’s attention by displaying an intricate plot that involves parallel realities and time travels, as well as cleverly releasing the information, in a way that people have to put the pieces of the puzzle together carefully to fully understand the movie.
The movie begins with a pleasant flight over skyscrapers and beautiful sites of Chicago. Then, the camera enters a commuter train, where a man called Capitan Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) is smoothly leaning against the cabin’s window. When he suddenly wakes up from what might have been a scarring nightmare, he has no idea of how he got there. Sitting on the opposite side, there is a smiling beautiful woman named Christina (Michelle Monaghan), who calls him by the name of Sean, and asks if he is alright. Perplexed with his switched personality, the man gets up and starts to walk skittishly through the train, searching for an answer of what happened to him. A few moments later, everything just blows away.
After his supposed death, Stevens wakes up again into some kind of capsule, where he is greeted through a monitor by a woman called Capt. Goodwin (Vera Farmiga), who explains him that someone implanted a bomb into that train in Chicago that morning. She also tells him he is inside a computer program called Source Code. The program allows going back to someone’s last eight minutes of life, in an alternative dimension. Stevens is therefore designated to go back in time several times to find out who the bomber is, and stop him. This intriguing opening sets the idea over which the movie will be developed. In addition to this main plot, the scientific fiction thriller also brings to the spectators several philosophical questions involving human nature and even our right to live and let die.
Responsible for performing the main role in the movie, Jake Gyllenhaal accompanied director Jones’ excellence in providing the information at the right time. Each time the actor went back to the train to try to catch the bomber he became increasingly aware of what was going on and what he was supposed to do. Furthermore, besides performing this task imposed by the officials in control, he also perfectly portrayed his personal dilemma, and fought not only for other people’s lives, but also for his own honor. More than an intelligent fictional plot, the movie presents a beautiful story of courage and love.