Film: Source Code

2011, Directed by Duncan Jones, written by Ben Ripley, starring Jake Gyllenhaal

If you know nothing about Source Code, you shall enjoy it all the more. As such, this may be the blandest, least explanative review anybody shall ever read of any film. While it’s perfectly possible to have a great time watching it having read the blurb on the back of the DVD box, for the best experience, know nothing, and keep it that way until the film begins to twist and starts to turn. Know nothing until you know it all.

The second film from director Duncan Jones (Who just so happens to be the son of David Bowie, as every article on one of his films must, by law, state), Source Code is very much in-keeping with Moon. A science fiction film shot on a low budget with one, sole established actor in the lead role, both have ambitions way beyond their modest roots. While I’m reluctant to go blowing it, Source Code is a film about an idea. It’s a great idea, and one stretched to it’s limits, but is never in danger of bursting. The conservative 89 minute run-time works in the films favour. It never feels in danger of outstaying its welcome, or running our of momentum. It’s a really tightly-packed piece of film making.

Jake Gyllenhaal stars, an actor of whom I, personally, am a big fan. He delivers a layer of humanity to the film, while also believable as an action hero-type character. The nature of the plot sees him flit between sides of his characters personality, and while there’s nothing of the emotional complication of the career-establishing Donnie Darko, he does it with aplomb. The support cast are also very good, although none of them ever threaten to steal the show from Gyllenhaal.

Not that it was Gyllenhaal’s show to own, anyway. It does very much belong to the clever, pacey, sharp script from feature-film debutant screenwriter Ben Ripley and the stand-out direction of Jones. Ripley’s ability to establish characters is impressive. There are various memorable lines littering the script, famed for a future living in quotations. Jones is a director with real vision and style. It’s not heavy on special effects, but it looks spectacular.

At no stage does Source Code get too big for it’s boots. It’s not revolutionary, but it’s not aiming to be. It’s not overflowing with ideas, it’s one good one, played out as it needs to be. Source Code is very, very solid. It’s exactly what it had to be. Sometimes, you don’t want any more than that. Sometimes, you don’t need any more than that. Hopefully you don’t need any more than this solid plot-free rambling to convince you to see Source Code.

7 borrowed phones out of 10

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