Source Code

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 29, 2015

Not quite the conceptual humdinger that Moon was (same director, of course), but this is still an intelligent, agile, and conscientious exploration of interesting ideas: time and space, will and fate, authority and independence, love and death and love, etc. Cool, if not quite mind-blowing or world-shaking. This isn’t a very big problem, since Source Code is finally a genre picture, in the most honest, honourable sense. As such, its most important or heart-felt ideas may actually be more cinematical than philosophical. How can we stage this situation, how can we render our story through visual elaboration and evolution? Their solution is the tried-and-true of theme and variations. The strategy works very well.  

More, and better, is something that also relates in fundamental ways to the status of the genre film within film histories and film industries. The challenge that seems to have been set here relates to how one might effectively and substantially engage, entertain and even edify an audience. What a good goal, and everyone involved pulls it off; this is a nice movie! True, narratively speaking they’re dealing with terrorism and psychosis and stuff. And they naturally expend a lot of energy in that direction. The mystery is very ingeniously solved, but the actual solution is a bit disappointingly seen-that. A techno-loony, eh? A bit wan, but in the end it’s not such a big problem. That’s because of the other more important, more heart-felt conclusion. The destruction and death are actually real world, but here they refuse nihilism or despair, opting instead for affirmation and optimism. Speaking of sublime genre statements, that affirmation and optimism is ultimately Hawksian-romantic. Smart men and women! The leads are terrific, and not at all in a show biz way. Also, excellent support from Farmiga and the fairly hilarious Jeffrey Wright.