‘Source Code’ offers best of Gyllenhaal

I must admit, I’m not a fan of Jake Gyllenhaal by any means. I liked him in “Donnie Darko,” but ever since then, his acting career has taken a turn for the worse. One of the problems I have with him is that he invests little passion into his roles.

Sure, he’s been cast in some good movies such as “Brokeback Mountain” and “Zodiac,” but the films often thrive in spite of him, not because of him.

However, Gyllenhaal’s latest film “Source Code,” which is only the second film directed by Duncan Jones, is clearly his best film yet.

Jones released his first film, “Moon,” in 2009, and the movie opened with overwhelmingly positive praise. This is now the second straight film in which Jones has revived an actor’s career. He did it with Sam Rockwell and Kevin Spacey in “Moon,” and now has done it again with Gyllenhaal in “Source Code.”

Gyllenhaal plays Capt. Colter Stevens, who is sent on a mission to identify the bomber of a Chicago commuter train. In the beginning of the film, Stevens wakes up on the train in the body of an unknown man, whose name is revealed to be Sean Fentress when Stevens opens up his wallet. He is sitting across from Fentress’ apparent girlfriend, Christina Warren (Michelle Monaghan), when she awakes as well. Warren becomes a key character throughout the film.

Before Stevens has any time to figure out what exactly is going on, the train explodes and kills everybody on it. After that, Stevens awakes in a chamber with no recollection of how he got there or what exactly is going on.

He sees another woman, Capt. Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga), who explains to him that he is part of a program, known as the Source Code. The project, developed by Dr. Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright), was designed to send someone into another person’s body in an alternate reality in order to investigate what happened in the past. In this case, the same exact bomb went off earlier that day in real life and killed several people.

Stevens learns that he must find the bomb and the bomber in order to prevent another terrorist attack, one that Dr. Rutledge fears could put the whole city in danger.

Each time Stevens goes into the Source Code, he has exactly eight minutes to complete his mission. Think of this movie like “Groundhog Day” on steroids. Something new or exciting happens every time Stevens goes into the Source Code and you’re instantly hooked from the time the movie starts until the moment it ends.

Some people liken this to “Inception,” and I actually think that’s a fair comparison. The visuals are just as impressive. Sure, Gyllenhaal is no Leonardo DiCaprio, but with Jones’ clever directing style, it doesn’t matter.

For those who thought “Inception” was too long, they will be relieved to find that the “Source Code” is only 93 minutes long, considerably shorter than Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece.

As of now, “Source Code” is by far the best movie to come out this year. Don’t be surprised if Jones’ latest film racks up a few awards by year’s end.


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