Complete A-Z list

Source Code


Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright, Michael Arden

Director: Duncan Jones

I must confess to not understanding the half of this sci-fi thriller. At any rate, Capt Colter Stevens (Gyllenhaal) is or was a helicopter pilot in Afghanistan. Suddenly, he wakes up to find himself on a Chicago-bound train with the woman opposite (Monaghan) calling him Shaun Fentress. He has a ticket but doesn't know it.

Eight minutes later, the train is blown to smithereens, and Colter finds himself in a capsule talking to an army officer (Farmiga) who tells him he has to identify the bomber on the train, but that she can only 'send him back' for eight minutes at a time.

I didn't comprehend how the visits to the train could possibly be progressive, giving Colter/Shaun increasing chances to find the bomb and the bomber, although he's told he cannot save the passengers. Meanwhile, desperate for information on his visits back to the present, he is bombarded with bewildering references to quantum mechanics and parallel realities.

It appears he may be dead, in which case how can he possibly save the passengers and the train - something that becomes his aim, particularly when he becomes attracted to Monaghan. 'This will stop at some point,' Farmiga tells him, just as we are all dying of boredom from so much repetition, but the film does fizz into life towards the end, even if remains incomprehensible to the last.

Whatever, for example, happened to the original Shaun? Did he just disappear into the ether, consumed by Colter's entity? Was Colter himself still 'active' at the end? Performances are fine; answers to the film's many unanswered questions on postcards, please.

David Quinlan

Canada/USA 2011. UK Distributor: Optumum. Technicolor.
94 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 26 Mar 2011