Although Source Code borrows ideas from different Sci-fi movies, it does not feel cliché. It is entertaining and original enough to stand out on its own.
The Production: 4/5
U.S. Army Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) abruptly wakes up in a Metra train headed to Chicago. He feels confused as just a day ago he was on a mission in Afghanistan. Sitting across from him is a woman named Christina (Michelle Monaghan) who seems to know him as she speaks to Stevens about a previous conversation they had. Captain Stevens soon discovers that his appearance is of Sean Fentress who – from looking at his ID in his wallet – is a history school teacher. Upon his realization, the train explodes and he wakes up inside a cockpit. Through a monitor, Captain Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) communicates with Stevens and explains to him that the train explosion he was just a part of actually happened that morning. What he lived was inside the “Source Code,” a device created by Dr. Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright). Inside the machine Stevens can experience the last eight minutes of another person’s life in a simulation/alternative timeline. His mission is to locate the bomb inside the train and find the person who triggers it before a second bomb hits downtown Chicago. Through a series of frustrating and failed attempts, Goodwin and Dr. Rutledge keep unwillingly sending Stevens back into the Source Code to complete his mission. Through these attempts, Stevens learns more about himself, the aftermath of his mission in Afghanistan, and most importantly about human life.
Duncan Jones (Moon, Warcraft, Mute) does a great job at setting up this story. From the very beginning, Source Code puts the audience inside the shoes of Captain Stevens. They feel his confusion and are also intrigued about finding out what is going on. Although there is a lot to take in, the plot does a fairly good job at giving crucial information when it is needed. Everything Stevens learns throughout his journey the audience learns with him but there are a few times where Dr. Rutledge keeps information to himself purely for creating more mystery. Without having a back story nor flashbacks, the audience knows what kind of person Captain Stevens is. He is a person that puts himself in danger in order to save others. This quality is never questioned, in fact is enhanced by showing more than telling. Stevens knows that everyone inside the Source Code reality is actually dead but he still wants to “save the world” – as he mentions – inside that reality. Stevens heroism is shown both in the real life and in the Source Code’s reality. Source Code is suspenseful movie with a great amount of twist and turns that is wel paced and does not overstay its welcome but it does leave you wanting more.
3D Rating: NA
Sourced Code was interestingly shot digitally with Red cameras and on film with Panavison cameras and completed as a 2K digital intermediate. This 4K UDH Blu-Ray contains the film in a 2160p resolution with Dolby Vision HDR and a 16:9 (1.78:1) aspect ration (no black bars here my friends). Since it was converted into 4K from a 2K material, the movie does suffer from a lot of grainy scenes. Some even standout more than others, particularly the ones in the real world with Captain Goodwin and Dr. Rutledge and it makes the CGI train explosion seem even less real (the CGI is not great on the regular Blu-Ray either). I watched the movie on equipment only capable of HDR10. The contrast stands out more than on the regular Blu-Ray version. The scenes inside the cockpit look really good although being a dimly lit location. In some instances the light sources seem to coming just from the monitor Stevens uses to see Goodwin. On the regular Blu-Ray version, these scenes give out the typical greyish “black” you get on non HDR movies.
As with most recent UHD rereleases, Source Code contains a Dolby Atmos track which is where this version shines the most. Just the audio alone makes this version worth buying, and anyone with an Atmos set up needs to have this as part of their collection. Chris P. Bacon’s (I love his name too) score stands out more with various details coming out of the surround and height channels. The movie does take advantage of the height channels with a strong LFE during the train explosion scene (which made it more believable) and whenever Stevens enters the Source Code – you fell like you are entering the alternative reality with him. There is even a quick montage section of several attempts by Stevens that only shows quick glimpses of his actions but the audio keeps the audience immersed
Special Features: 0.5/5
There is nothing special about these “special features” as there is only one. The one good thing is that it is viewable on both the regular Blu-Ray and the UHD one.
5 Crazy details you might have missed (1080p; 2:01): a YouTube style countdown video with minimal facts about the movie.
Source Code is definitely worth the watch. It’s a movie that not only is entertaining, but it also makes you feel for the main character and it has you question the decisions of higher ups.