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127 of 137 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Quantum Leap", meet "Groundhog Day"
Source Code is a suspenseful, surprisingly intelligent, occasionally touching, movie that's far better than I'd expected it to be. With tight pacing, great editing, good acting and fine directing by Duncan Jones, best known for Moon, it's a very good sci-fi action film released outside the usual summertime area for such movies.

The film tells the tale of a man...
Published on April 4, 2011 by Chris Swanson

versus
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sugar coated ending ruins an otherwise good movie...
I thought this movie was really good up until the last 10 minutes when the wheels came off and it got all sappy. A sad ending would have made more sense.
Published on August 11, 2011 by Capt. McPl0x


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127 of 137 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Quantum Leap", meet "Groundhog Day", April 4, 2011
Source Code is a suspenseful, surprisingly intelligent, occasionally touching, movie that's far better than I'd expected it to be. With tight pacing, great editing, good acting and fine directing by Duncan Jones, best known for Moon, it's a very good sci-fi action film released outside the usual summertime area for such movies.

The film tells the tale of a man (Jake Gyllenhall), who wakes up on a train. He has no idea why he's there or who the woman across from him is. As he's trying to get things sorted out, an explosion goes off, killing everyone. He then comes to inside a capsule where it's explained to him that the train was blown up in a terrorist bombing. The terrorist was kind enough to do a practice run and apparently plans to detonate a dirty bomb in Chicago. Due to some sort of "quantum" effect he can "leap" into the body of a man who died on the train and live out his last eight minutes of life. Doing that will, with luck, enable him to find the bomber.

If it's a premise that sounds familiar, that's because it is. It's perhaps no surprise that Scott Bakula's voice turns up in a cameo during the movie, since it clearly owes a lot to his most famous work. In fact, it's basically Quantum Leap mashed-up with Groundhog Day while managing to be better than the first and at least as engaging as the second.

There was really nothing I disliked about this film. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it's the best film I've seen so far this year, and, sadly, will likely be the best science fiction film for quite some time.
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140 of 155 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Source Code Review, April 8, 2011
Source Code is an exhilarating movie. It is fast paced, without losing a deep story and emotional connection. The movie puts it's main character in a tense scene, having to find a person who is about to blow up a train. It throws the character(played by Jake Gyllenhaal very well) back into this scene over and over again, with small conversations in between.

The story is complex and emotional. It lets Jake's character expand and deepen, and the supporting cast is great. The special effects are well done, and the whole tone keeps you on the edge of your seat. Surprisingly, there is no campy dialogue (something I was expecting from the previews) and it is actually a superb script, making conversations interesting, and later scenes racked with emotion.

The whole movies is very great, leaving you excited by its presentation and quality in every aspect in it. The idea to replay a scene over and over again is executed really well, and makes the film very exciting. It is the first truly great film of 2011. I recommend it, to everyone.
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Stylish, Well Crafted Thriller, July 9, 2011
By 
This review is from: Source Code (DVD)
SOURCE CODE has an element that is lacking in too many of the Hollywood CGI sci-fi experimental movies that are so very cloned these day - humanity. Much of the credit for this quality comes from the intelligent and imaginative writing of Ben Ripley and the tight direction by Duncan Jones, but the main reason this film works so well is the presence of charismatic and fine acting by Jake Gyllenhaal.

The story borders on the obtuse: a device has been invented by Dr. Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright) that can maintain a person in a state of recall much the way a light bulb has a glow after it has been extinguished. Rutledge has placed helicopter pilot Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal), who is missing in action in Afghanistan, in a capsule that is capable, under the direction of military officer Goodwin (Vera Farmiga), of projecting Stevens onto a train entering Chicago that has been planted with a bomb in order to discover the perpetrator who is apparently planning another bomb that will decimate the city of Chicago. It is a back and forth series of 8 minute exercises, each time Stevens relives the moments before a bomb detonation and gradually learns the the device and its owner. On board the train he meets Christina (Michelle Monaghan) who 'sees' Stevens as her boyfriend Sean and during these repeat flashbacks Stevens and Christina form a bond that makes Stevens re-think his 'purpose' in this military gimmicky.

*In the hands of the wrong people this little venture would seem trite and silly, but with this crew of creators it becomes a puzzle that touches on tension, fear, humor, and warmth. That is what a superb cast can do with any material, but with this particular strange tale it works perfectly. Grady Harp, July 11
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47 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Groundhog Day meets The Matrix, April 1, 2011
By 
Monkdude (Hampton, Virginia) - See all my reviews
Director Duncan Jones, the man behind the small scale and well crafted film Moon, returns with an equally fascinating mystery that doesn't outstay it's welcome at just over 90 minutes long. To be honest, I didn't plan on seeing Source Code before yesterday. The trailer was a little on the weak side and the story seemed predictable, but those pesky critics can sometimes get me to the theater, especially if almost all of them are in universal agreement that the movie is really good.

It's hard to describe this film without giving too much away. The main character (Jake Gyllenhall) has been given the ability to go back in time over and over again, for only 8 minutes a pop, in order to stop the train he is riding on from blowing up. There is a lot more to it than that of course. The government is behind the mission and the time traveling technology and there are many other twist and turns along the way, so I won't go into heavy detail here.

The cast is good, but it doesn't feature a standout performance like the one Sam Rockwell gave in Moon. Then again, the clever script doesn't call for a one man show this time around.

I was pleasantly surprised with this sci-fi/thriller/mystery hybrid. It's worth a trip to the theater or a future rental at the very least. Source Code is something along the lines of what Alfred Hitchcock might be making if he was around today.
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78 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scenes From a Memory..., July 30, 2011
This review is from: Source Code (Amazon Instant Video)
I'm not going to tell you what this movie is about.
Why, you ask?
Any info will ruin the experience.
And what an experience it was.
Here's what I liked.
Brilliant storytelling.
Incredible acting from everyone.
Direction, pacing, score were all top notch.

Anything I didn't like?
No.

This film does what so few films do, it will make you think.
It touches on so MANY different themes.
Right.
Wrong.
Good.
Evil.
Moral.
Ethical.
This life.
The next.
And pretty much everything in between.
Brilliant.
In an age of movies filled with senseless violence, unnecessary nudity and swearing that would make a truck driver blush, it's refreshing to see a movie that simply does what films should do....tells a story.
A grand story that I give my highest recommendation.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's so good to see that Intelligent, well done movies still exist, July 9, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Source Code (Amazon Instant Video)
Acting - awesome
Plot - awesome
Directing -awesome
Effects- awesome
If you still enjoy being treated as an intelligent human being without compromising creativity, action, supsense, drama, sensuality, fun and believability in a movie - then this one is for you. Awesome movie.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging and fun sci fi thriller, April 2, 2011
Imagine waking up on a train. You don't know how you got there. You don't know who the lady sitting across from you is, even though she seems to know you. Your last memory is flying helicopters in Iraq. Looking in the mirror you don't see your face...you see someone else. Your driver's license says, "Sean" - not your name. Then the train explodes and you are consumed in a ball of fire. Only you don't die. You wake up in a metallic chamber surrounded by wires, a screen on the wall. Eventually a woman tells you that the train was real and had been bombed by terrorists who threatened to strike again. The machine you are in is called the Source Code. It lets you relive 8 minutes of someone's life, someone from the train, in a sort of alternate universe which mirrors our exactly. Your mission is to discover the terrorist within the Source Code so that they can be stopped in your world before detonating a dirty bomb. You will repeat the assignment until complete.

What do you do?

This is what happens to Coulter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhall) in Source Code. The lady across from him is Christina (Michelle Monaghan), who apparently knows Sean from the daily commute into Chicago. Vera Farmiga plays Goodwin, the woman who gives Coulter instructions between jumps, and Jeffrey Wright plays Dr. Rutledge, the creator of the Source Code.

Duncan Jones directs this fast paced sci-fi thriller without ever losing sight of the plot or the characters. With each jump back into the Source Code, we learn more about Coulter and about Christina. Duncan also doesn't let supporting characters fade into the background too, as Goodwin is given plenty of opportunity for character development.

Out of all of the movies or TV shows to use the Groundhog Day effect, this is probably the best I've seen it used. Usually this effect is random, and continues until the character makes the right choice, after which the story finally progresses outside of whatever time loop has been created. Groundhog Day is the most famous example of this, though I have seen several Star Trek episodes utilize the same technique. It's almost a choose-your-own-adventure for the characters, especially since they soon realize death just starts the loop over again.

One of the great things Source Code does to break out of the clichés in this effect is the have an outside story. Between loops, Coulter returns to the real world (I say real world for lack of a better word since an alternate reality could still be considered real). His jumps happen after the actual terrorist bombing, and the terrorists promised to strike again. This gives an excellent ticking clock in the script, and great incentive for the bomber to be found, because real lives are at risk. Also, he is given only 8 minutes, which is an incredibly short length of time. This helps ratchet up the tension as well.

The entire cast is excellent, giving their characters real emotion. It is great to see the relationship between Coulter and Christina grow, even though at the beginning of each jump Christina is no longer aware of any developments. Also, Goodwin agonizes over her ability to help Coulter. Rutledge is her superior and seems to want Coulter more in the dark about full details surrounding the event that Goodwin thinks are necessary.

Coulter himself is just a great character. His last memory is of being on active duty in Iraq. Between then and waking up after his first time on the train in the Source Code there are no memories. Since the Source Code is an identical/alternate reality he uses those 8 minutes on the train to not only try to search for the bomber, but also piece together what happened to him.

That said, there are weaker moments in the story.

The first is that after returning from his first time on the train, Coulter is almost immediately sent back and is told to find the bomb. Goodwin and Rutledge don't want to waste time - they need to find the terrorist. However, it isn't until a couple of jumps later that they finally tell Coulter why they need to find the bomb. Until that point, he thinks it's just a training simulation. While it is funny to watch Coulter treat it as a simulation, it doesn't make any sense for him not to know about the terrorist bombings.

Second, though the relationship progressed nicely between Coulter and Christina, there were a few cheesy moments. It seems hard to do good scenes with romantic tension in a sci-fi movie.

Still, this is an excellent movie, and easily the best movie I have seen so far this year. If you enjoy a good sci-fi or thriller, this should be an enjoyable movie.

This is Duncan Jones' 2nd film, his first being Moon, one of the best Science Fiction movies in recent years. I deeply hope Jones continues to direct smart, engaging sci fi movies. We need something to balance out Transformers.

4/5 stars
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sugar coated ending ruins an otherwise good movie..., August 11, 2011
By 
This review is from: Source Code (DVD)
I thought this movie was really good up until the last 10 minutes when the wheels came off and it got all sappy. A sad ending would have made more sense.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars In Desperate Need of a Director's Cut, November 28, 2011
This review is from: Source Code [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Despite the incomprehensible sci-fi explanation behind the technology, this was a pretty solid movie up until the last 10 minutes. The producers chickened out and caved in to the movie studios and focus groups, and tacked on a terrible fairy-tale ending.

If it stuck with the existential ending, Source Code would easily be 4+ stars. Here's hoping we see a Director's Cut.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Close, But No Cigar..., September 28, 2011
This review is from: Source Code (DVD)
A decent cocktail of "Quantum Leap", "Groundhog Day" and "Twelve Monkeys" which sees Jake Gyllenhaal's s air-force pilot seconded into a covert military operation and forced to relive the final eight minutes of a commuter train bombing - via the expedient of a quantum simulation - in order to try and ascertain the identity of the bomber and avert a further terrorist catastrophe.

It's a decent enough film although not quite the tour-de-force I was hoping for from "Moon" director Duncan Jones's second feature. Gyllenhaal makes a nicely tweaked lead in the Bruce-Willis-in-12 Monkeys tradition but the rest of the cast - with the exception of Vera Farmiga and a criminally underused Jeffrey Wright - are fairly forgettable.

Definitely a case of "Close but no Cigar"; unfortunately not quite the classic it could have been with a little more polish.
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Source Code [Blu-ray]
Source Code [Blu-ray] by Duncan Jones (Blu-ray - 2011)
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