Archive for May 21st, 2014

Eight minutes to detonation: A disoriented soldier returns time and again to the past to thwart a terrorist bombing in the intriguing ‘Source Code’

May 21, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
May 21, 2014

A man wakes up on a train. A woman he’s never seen before tells him that she took his advice. She calls him Sean. The man slips into the bathroom. When he looks in the mirror, a stranger’s face stares back at him. The wallet he carries contains an ID card for Sean Fentress.

Minutes later, the train explodes, and the man wakes up in a capsule. A woman’s voice asks him: Did you identify the bomber? No, answers the even-more-baffled man. Concentrate, the uniformed woman on the capsule screen tells him. Shortly afterward, she projects him back into the strange man’s body. He is once again sitting across from a strange woman who tells him that she took his advice. The man has been assigned a mission by the uniformed woman and her superiors: To relive this gruesome scenario until he can locate the crucial intelligence that authorities hope will enable them to prevent further deadly terrorist attacks on the United States.

This, simply put (or about as simply as I can manage!), is the premise of Source Code, a gripping 2011 thriller with a smattering of science-fiction elements written by Ben Ripley and directed by Duncan Jones. This is Jones’s second feature film, a follow up to 2009’s brilliant Moon, and indeed the two movies have a number of things in common. Both are cerebral stories featuring a protagonist who has been isolated by his superiors in circumstances that he doesn’t fully understand. Also, most of the hero’s contact with other people is mediated through some form of machinery.

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