Reviewed by: Thaisha Geiger
|Featuring:||Jake Gyllenhaal—Colter Stevens
Vera Farmiga—Carol Goodwin
Russell Peters—Max Denoff
|Producer:||Jeb Brody—executive producer
Fabrice Gianfermi—executive producer
“Make every second count”
Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) suddenly wakes up on a moving train, confused about where he is and how he even got there. An attractive woman, Christina (Michelle Monaghan), begins to chat with him, calling him Sean. As he keenly absorbs his new environment, Colter adamantly denies knowing her. As he stares out the window, the passing scenery creates a dim reflection of a strange man. In seeing this, Colter rushes to the bathroom, and, to his horror, sees another man’s reflection. Not long after this, the train explodes, and Colter jerks awake and finds himself strapped in a harness at some classified military base.
At first, Colter is frantically confused, until Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) does memory exercises to have him remember his location. He’s slowly told that he’s part of a revolutionary science program named Source Code. After a human’s death, the brain’s short term memory, eight minutes exactly, stays alive. Dr. Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright) captured the last eight minutes of Sean Fentress’ life. Since both Sean and Colter were compatible, Colter is able to enter Sean’s mind and relive the last eight minutes repeatedly.
Colter soon finds out that both Christina and Sean were among the hundred victims who died that morning from a bomb attack on a commuter train. Colter’s mission is to use Sean’s last eight minutes to first locate the bomb and the identity of the bomber. Time is of essence, since the bomber has already threatened to bomb a larger section of the city. Though the theatrical trailers reveal the bulk of the plot, “Source Code” still delivers strong plot revelations at successfully timed increments to keep the momentum going.
Right at 93 minutes, “Source Code” wastes no time in immediately jumping into the plot. Though Colter constantly repeats the last 8 minutes of Sean’s train ride, each time is different and equally urgent. His interactions with the passengers and with Christina never grow stale. Though full of action, “Source Code” differs from the recent slew of action films in that it also speaks of humanity; helping it along the way is the superb talent of the entire cast.
With a touch of romance and emotional scenes, this sci-fi film offers a survey of other genres. Though the science is a bit outlandish, it’s well explained. Perhaps the film’s biggest weakness is its ending. The film could have easily ended five minutes before its final scene. Though the ending is definitely thought-provoking, it’s hard not to feel as if it were tacked on merely to leave open the possibility of a sequel.
There are about 20 uses of profanity (4 GD, 5 sh*t, 3 as*, 4 d*mn). In a fit of rage, Colter shouts “f__k you”. The word “d_ck” is used at least once. The word “h_ll” is used 3 times. God and Jesus’ names are misused 3 times.
The sexual content is on the mild side. Refreshingly, the growing romance between Colter and Christina is sweet. They only share two kisses, which are both closed mouth. In one scene, Colter tells Christina he’s had vivid dreams of her, but immediately points out that he didn’t mean sexual dreams. Near the end, a comedian begins to make the train laugh with a sexual joke that his name is “get off” since that’s what women tell him when he’s on top of them.
There is also mild gore content in the film. With the train repeatedly blowing up, some people are shown briefly burning, including the main characters. Though a bit disturbing, these are heavy in CGI effects and appear a bit fake. A comatose man is shown with half of his brain exposed, covered in wires. His lower body is also missing, and his internal organs are shown contained in a plastic capsule.
The film is very heavy in violence. In trying to find the bomber, Colter holds several people at gunpoint. There are several fight scenes. In one fight, Colter breaks a passenger’s jaw, and, in another, he’s pushed into the railroad tracks and gets hit by an oncoming train. Though the scene turns black, right before impact, the audience can still hear the “thud”. One of the train officers tasers Colter. Two characters are shown getting shot in their abdomens. They are then shown slowly dying in a pool of their own blood. The camera zoomed in on the female, as her eyes noticeably became glossed over.
Though he does use violence in finding the bomber, it is definitely understandable, since, to his defense, the Source Code is labeled as merely a computer program. With that said, most of the violence fits within the storyline, so the most consistently objectionable content is be the profanity.
Aside from these two deterrents, the main protagonist has several admirable qualities. Colter is brave, relentless and dedicated in finding the bomber. He also values life and tries to save Christina and the other passengers, despite his leaders’ direct orders not to.
During one of his last trips within the Source Code, Colter reflects upon all the happiness and laughter within the train’s cabin; the passengers are finally getting along. He tells Christina that there is so much life. He then asks her what would she do if she had only seconds left to live. She responds that she would make those seconds count.
Likewise, Christians should be united and not allow petty things to divide up the body of Christ. In Ephesians 4, Paul urges Christians to “live a life worthy of the calling”. He further tells us to “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace”.
Overall, “Source Code” is a solid thriller with a surprisingly good amount of human content. This mostly consists of Colter Stevens’ journey of acceptance in what life has dealt him. Though I recommend “Source Code,” I cautiously do so only to mature viewers. Parents should probably see it first, before allowing their children to do so.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Mild
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.