Jake Gyllenhaal and Michelle Monaghan star in body-swapping thriller
Duncan Jones’ dazzling debut Moon is, by any standard, a tough act to follow, but while sophomore effort Source Code can’t quite match up, it does ensure the director’s career remains on the right track.
The film is an intriguing race-against-time thriller with sci-fi and philosophical elements. It stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Colter Stevens, a helicopter pilot serving in Afghanistan, who suddenly wakes up on a busy Chicago commuter train in someone else’s body.
When the train explodes, Stevens is transported back to a dark capsule where military commanders tell him that he is on a mission to find the bomber responsible and prevent a larger catastrophe. He can do this using a source code, which enables him to keep returning to the train to relive the last eight minutes of the man he has become.
While undoubtedly silly in a Groundhog Day meets Deja Vu kind of way, Source Code grips by virtue of its sharply drawn characters and because of Jones’ ability to mix wider ethical and scientific issues with clever twists and turns. Stylistic nods to Moon are also welcome. It’s just a shame that a feel-good, crowd-pleasing ending prevents it from being even smarter.
General release from Friday 1 April.