There is a lot of discussion that goes on around here about movie adaptations of video games and how they never get it right. They always seem to be missing something whether it be important characters being re-imagined or plot points changed to make it more hollywood’ish or for the most part they just don’t get what video games are about. They are about the experience and the challenge. A good video game is one you can play over and over again and not get bored. The challenge is what brings you back and that’s the best way I can describe The Source Code for you. This movie is the live action version of a mystery/action-adventure video game that keeps bringing you back over and over again, each time discovering something new that will allow you to advance to the next mystery and hopefully escape from the danger and save the girl. While The Source Code may not actually be based on a video game, it certainly has all the elements of a great video game in droves.
I’m sure you’ve probably all known what this movie is about at this point. There has been a ton of trailers and press for this movie. It seems like rarely a day has gone by in the past few months that we didn’t get a new poster, trailer, teaser, or interview for this movie teasing out bits of info to keep us interested. The Source Code is an action thriller centered on a soldier who wakes up in the body of an unknown man and discovers he’s part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train. He has eight minutes to discover who is responsible for this terrible deed and report back to his commanders before the train is going to explode. What we soon learn is that Gyllenhaal must relive these 8 minutes over and over again until he is able to solve the mystery and save the day. Sounds pretty straight forward right? Well that’s where this movie wins the day.
The real drawing point to this movie is the “video game” style replays where the character of Stevens must relive these moments over and over again in a Groundhog Day style series of events using what he’s learned each time to get closer to solving the mystery. The whole time he’s reliving these events he’s falling in love with Michelle Monaghan’s character and instead of just finding out who the terrorist is and handing over the info to his superior officers he begins to plot a way to save the people on the train and get the girl as well.
The Source Code is a very good movie that just happens to be a one of the better sci-fi movies I’ve seen in a long time. I love the way that they didn’t just gloss over the scientific aspects of whats going on here to focus on the action and romance elements. The science was respected, and that allows for some good discussion on whether what was happening in this movie could actually be possible and what the repercussions of those actions are, but that’s a thought for another day. What you should really take away from this review is that The Source Code is definitely a movie worth seeing. It’s smart, funny at times, has a little romance, has a lot of good action sequences, and has a mystery behind it all that will keep you guessing as to what’s really going on up until the very end. Check this movie out and support good movies like this, they just might make more smart sci-fi movies and that’s never a bad thing.