On a moving train, a man jolts awake. The beautiful woman seated next to him (Michelle Monaghan) is chattering away as if they’re a longtime couple. But he has no idea who she is, or — since he’s Captain Colter Stevens — why she keeps calling him Sean.
Oh, and he has no idea where he is, or why he’s not piloting his chopper in Afghanistan.
Just wait — Source Code is about to get better/worse/ more complicated.
The script features a catchphrase: “Everything’s gonna be OK.” But when we first hear it, early on, the train just up and explodes, killing everyone on-board.
Captain Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) again jolts awake, this time strapped into a seat and stuck in a dark, claustrophobic capsule. Another beautiful woman, this one in a military uniform (Vera Farmiga), is talking to him from a video screen. He still doesn’t know where he is, but at least she’s calling him Captain Stevens.
A minute or two later, without much explanation, he’s back on the train — pre-explosion — having been told that he must locate the bomber ... and he has just eight minutes to do it.
Source Code, the second film from Duncan Jones (Moon), is a crackling thriller. Because it involves one person thrust into the same situation over and over, it’s a kind of Groundhog Day for science-fiction aficionados.
Captain Stevens keeps getting sent back to the train, keeps getting “killed,” and keeps returning to the capsule. But he retains all knowledge of previous visits, and soon he starts unraveling the mystery of the bomb and the bomber.
He’s told he’s on a “source code mission.” “What’s a source code?” he demands of Dr. Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright), another video screen face. “It’s very complicated,” he’s told. Something about quantum physics, synaptic maps, and time reassignment.
Source Code is smartly written, pulse-pounding science fiction. Just don’t try to figure out where it’s all going.