Saturday, 18 June 2011

Film Review: Source Code

Rating: 5.5/10 - Average
A few weeks back I was fortunate enough to watch Source Code at a sneak preview hosted by the honourable Mr. Barry Ronge at NuMetro Montecasino. Barry Ronge himself thoroughly enjoyed the film and he even gave it a perfect 10 on his website which is pretty impressive. I wish I shared his enthusiasm for the film but unfortunately I don't. See what my thoughts are on Source Code after the jump.

Director: Duncan Jones. Screenplay: Ben Ripley. Producers: Mark Gordon, Philippe Rousselet and Jordan Wynn. Executive Producers: Jeb Brody, Fabrice Gianfermi and Hawk Koch. Cinematographer: Don Burgess. Editor: Paul Hirsch. Music: Chris P. Bacon. Production Designer: Barry Chusid. Costume Design: Renee April. Distributor: Summit Entertainment. Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga and Jeffrey Wright. Age Restriction: 13V. Running Time: 93 Minutes.

Quite a number of people have been calling Source Code this year's Inception but that seems rather daft to me. Comparing this film to Christopher Nolan's Inception is a bit like comparing apples to oranges or, in this case, a near-masterpiece to a so-so action thriller. Yes they're both sci-films and yes they're both apparently mind benders (they're both fairly straightforward to me though) but that's about where the similarities end. While Inception featured innovative action set-pieces, stunning imagery and a multi-layered emotional core at the heart of the story, Source Code offers nothing new action-wise and the story itself feels hollow. Which is not to say that this is a terrible film but just that Ben Ripley's screenplay focuses too much on the mechanics of time-travel and causality and does not leave enough room to explore the characters' motives in depth. As a result Captain Colter Stevens' father-son storyline feels more like a screenwriting construct than a real motivation and as for the rest of the cast, they might as well be cutboard cutouts because that's how well they're fleshed out.

Despite all this, director Duncan Jones does a pretty good job keeping the film moving at a crisp pace. There certainly is a good deal of tension and suspense throughout and by the end only those with hearts of stone won't feel Stevens and his predicament. As for the big twist at the end, if you've read and understood Stephen Hawking's books on time-travel and parallel universes then the twist will pretty straightforward and even underwhelming to you. If not then expect to leave the theatre scratching your head wondering what the f*** just happened!

Verdict: A watchable but ultimately underwhelming film that tries too hard to be too smart. The writer should have taken notes from Groundhog Day and the Back To The Future franchise on how to make an entertaining time-travel film.

Source Code is out in cinemas now.

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