Had Potential, But It's Ultimately A Mess
JLFM - wrote on 01/26/13
Source Code shouldn't be as bad as it is. It has a relatively interesting and unique (if slightly gimmicky premise), and has some great ideas up it's sleeve. The problem here, is that Source Code also has it's share of terrible ideas and obvious flaws that send this initially entertaining action flick into a downward spiral that progressively gets worse until the film closes.
The premise behind Source Code is that a man named Colter Stevens wakes up in the body of an unknown man, on a train. Completely confused, Colter panics until the train ultimately explodes. He awakens again in a capsule, where he is informed through a monitor that he has the ability to inhabit other people's body through a process called Source Code. Through Source Code, Colter lives the person's last 8 minutes in order to discover information.
The plot is a bit more involved and complicated then that, but everything is so convoluted and tedious, it seems pointless to explain the rest of it.
The idea here is quite unique. I like the premise. The problem here is execution. There are so many ideas that aren't utilized or aren't fully utilized that could've made this a much more intelligent, suspenseful, and engaging experience.
Instead, the plot intricacies trips Source Code, and the film not only becomes flawed, but broken. There are obvious things overlooked by the characters, some contradictions, even a few plot holes. And if you aren't rolling your eyes or feeling somewhat frustrated by the cheap, cheesy, sequel-begging ending, then you've fallen for the gimmick.
Plot details are simply way too similar to other movies. Character revisits the same 8 minutes repeatedly. Sounds like Groundhog Day. Character wakes up in a body where he doesn't know who he is. Sounds like The Bourne Identity. And if the word Inception isn't screaming in your face when Colter, while in someone else's mind, gets hit by a train when lying on the train tracks, then you've clearly never seen Inception.
The fact is, Source Code is not only a bad film. It's a rip off of other, often better films. It's insulting, and it doesn't make for a good film.
The act of returning to the same 8 minutes quickly becomes repetitive. And while there's a "carrot" at the beginning of the film (knowledge of what's going on) to keep you interested for the first couple of "re-visits," the experience quickly grows tiring and dull.
The acting isn't particularly good. Jake Gyllenhaal delivers a passable performance as the distraught main character, Colter Stevens. Vera Farmiga does much the same as the seemingly robotic (in character, not in acting) Goodwin. Michelle Monaghan poorly acts the obligatory love interest, Christina, and Jeffery Wright as Dr. Rutledge uses a ridiculously hammy and over-the-top voice just begging for mockery.
The score by Chris Bacon isn't bad, but it's too generic to be anything but mediocre. The main titles show promise, but the rest of it is generic and goes overboard on electronics.
While Source Code starts off with potential, it quickly becomes a mess. Convoluted plot, hammy acting, rip offs from other films and an insultingly terrible ending left me not only disappointed, but disgusted. Source Code has it's share of thrills early on, but after half an hour, the whole film drags, leaving a potentially fresh and enjoyable film in a cacophony of improbability and blunt stupidity.