Dead Man’s Dilemma

Source Code

Fragments of Reality Exploding

Director Duncan Jones and son of Eighties Rock Icon David Bowie has expanded his horizon from his debut film Moon, a sci-fi thriller starring Sam Rockwell as multiple versions of himself, stranded on a remote space ship controlled by a omniscient computer, voiced with enviable calm by Kevin Spacey to Source Code starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan and Vera Farmiga, a parallel universe thriller set in the 21st century heart of America, ever threatened by eminent terrorist attacks.

Unlike Moon, Source Code is grounded in reality, contemporary Chicago where a passenger train bound for the city centre is about to explode. Gyllenhaal plays US Army Helicopter pilot Captain Colter Stevens who is transported into another man’s body with only 8 minutes left to live and he must find a way of discovering the identity of the bomber who is on board and gets off at the station prior to the blast.

Using the framework of parallel universes, quantum physics and covert government departments, Source Code is an ingenious thriller about the effects of transporting an unwilling hero into the mind of a man eight minutes before he dies, not once but several time, opening up several different versions of a similar, yet slightly different reality. Like in Moon, the central character Colter is disconnected from the outside world not only physically but also psychologically and is being controlled by a force far greater than his own willpower.

Vera Farmiga last seen in Up in the Air makes a welcome appearance on screen as the controller Goodwin, who is faced not only with the ethics of the military experiment but the impact it will have on altering the course of the future using the deeply confused anti-hero. Colter, played by a wide eyed Gyllenhaal is predictably brilliant drawing on his previous role in Jarhead, while it is the ever surprising Jeffrey Wright as Dr Rutledge who is elegant, insidious and morally blunted by the ethical consequences of his own experiment, who only recognizes the source code’s true potential.

See Source Code not only for its varied scenarios of the same terrorist situation reminiscent of the hideous and very real Madrid train bombs that occurred in March 2003 but for the film’s ingenuous probing of the  core dilemma of using a dying man’s functioning brain in the last moments of his conscious life.

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