Thursday, 5 January 2012

Source Code (2011)

Film #345

Source Code (2011)

Basking in the success of his debut independent film "Moon" which managed to garner critical acclaim and a decent box office of about 9 million with a budget of 5 million, director Duncan Jones decided to go commercial with "Source Code" which has a budget of 32 million while earning around 123 million AND earning good reviews but with most critics confirming the fact that the film was not as great as his debut flick. Some may say that the money got to him or that he's lost his touch but I have to say that he did stagger a bit with this film but I still enjoyed it.

"Moon" is one of my top 10 fav films of all time and so I had a lot of expectations with this film and I have to say I was beginning to worry when I saw the horribly designed posters for this film. After viewing the film, I can say that it's good but not great...and slightly disappointing.

The reasons I loved Moon so much is because of the certain sophisticated and intelligent direction involved, the emotionally heartbreaking acting and screenplay, the creepy but amazing score from Clint Mansell,etc. The opening scene of Source Code made my heart sink a bit as it was just boring shots of trains and a city with a bit of a cliched background score. Then as the film starts and goes past the first extremely entertaining 30 min, I knew that the overall reason that this flick was made was to elaborate some of Jones genius ideas AND to earn loads of money. The reason I say that is because Source Code lacks a lot of the sophistication that Moon had and there was a lot of spoon feeding of information. I like to be challenged and yes the film does do that but only for a while before it explains everything..obviously because producers probably forced the director to do so, so that audiences do not get turned off by it's intelligence. It's things like that which make me slightly annoyed. I also felt that the film seemed to focus more on the relationships of the characters (with most of them being rather bland) then it did on the overall themes of the science of the "Source Code" device and the War On Terror. It definitely could have gotten deeper with it's story. The film seemed to remind me of a video game at times as the main character goes into the world, does a bunch of stuff to find out the bomber of the train in which the explosions takes place,then get's killed, and tries again in that same world where reality is not relevant.

In terms of acting, I found it solid but disappointing, as Sam Rockwell gave quite a devastatingly emotional performance in Moon while Jake Gyllenhall seems to be aiming to give a charismatic performance. I liked him but this is where I began to lower my expectations and realize the true reason for making this film overall. All the other actors were decent but lacking much development. I have to blame it on the screenplay which is not bad but it could have been more serious and focused in the second half with such an intelligent premise. Not much to say about the cinematography and the score as it was rather mediocre. The direction and editing was good though. No matter how many flaws the film had, the direction manages to keep me entertained and mentally stimulated for it's running time of around 1 hour and 40 min. Repetitiveness was something that I felt began to become a bit of a problem but the film soon ended and it also did tried to use some decent editing skills to make time pass by.

3 reasons that made me really like this film are firstly, to see the main character not have to worry about his consequences, as that is something every single person is dying to be able to do. I have tons of scenarios in my head that I would love to do but can't because of the fact that I am afraid of the consequences. The second reason is the fact that Duncan Jones has managed to come up with such a genius of an idea. I mean where the fuck did the idea of a "source code" come from...the device is something I personally believe COULD be real one day...not now obviously but maybe sometime in the distant future...The last reason would be that despite the flaws, I found a lot of the stuff to be emotionally satisfying. I really loved that one scene where the main character is sitting on the floor in the train handcuffed to a metal bar for stealing a gun, telling his friend about what he would do if he had a minute to live with the explosion coming in slowly behind him, showing the reactions of his friend and him before both are killed. The ending scene was quite "cheesy" but still emotionally satisfying.

Overall, my expectations were turned around quite much towards Duncan Jones after watching this film, but I still really liked  it due to it's charismatic performance by Jake Gyllenhall, the good editing and direction from Jones, and due to the overall genius of a plot. Maybe I might have been a bit too negative towards this film in my review but I have you know I really liked it as it is a solid hollywood blockbuster science fiction's a lot better then most of the crap blockbusters that have come out this year.


- Alexson Philipiah


  1. Great review! I'm surprised at how well you write (the only bit of criticism I have to make is this: learn the difference between "it's" and "its"). Other than that, good job! I agree with a lot of things you said about this film, especially your negative points. I remember liking this film for its refreshing premise and intelligence but soon after getting fed up with its repetitiveness and redundancy. That's why I ended up giving the film a middling rating. And yes, the ending was very cheesy.

  2. Nice review. Keep at it the same way. Just watch a movie and write. That's all you need to do. You'll eventually find your voice.