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'Source Code' is delightful sci-fi puzzle

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POSTED: April 8, 2011 10:40 a.m.
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Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Capt. Colter Stevens, who is asked to time travel to help catch a terrorist in "The Source Code."

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“The Source Code” is a sci-fi thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal as Capt. Colter Stevens, a dogged and decorated U.S. Army helicopter pilot. But Colter has been reassigned to a unit named Beleaguered Castle. How cool of a name is that?
Colter’s role with Beleaguered Castle is to relive the last eight minutes of a dead man’s life. Remember “Quantum Leap”? The experience is a little bit like that.
While inside the memory, referred to as the Source Code, Colter needs to interact with the passengers of a Chicago-bound commuter train in order to discover which of them has placed a bomb on board.
Colter is told there is no way to save the passengers. They already are dead. But identifying the bad guy will help authorities catch him before he lets loose the second, more dangerous bomb.
Colter only has eight minutes every time he leaps into the dead man’s shoes, but time is running out before the next explosion claims lives. And questions about Colter’s own situation throw us off-kilter.
You would think the “Groundhog Day” element of the film would get too repetitive. It doesn’t. The film is so riveting and multifaceted that I began drawing comparisons to last year’s mindbender, “Inception.”
After the movie was over, however, some nasty logic questions kept cropping up, knocking “The Source Code” down a few notches from achieving “Inception”-level grandeur.
Still, what an achievement for director Duncan Jones, also the writer and director of “Moon.” Jones is the son of rocker David Bowie. You’re my new sci-fi hero, Mr. Jones. Keep up the good work.
I’m a fan! This is my favorite movie of the year — so far.

 

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