Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal), a decorated army captain recently deployed in Afghanistan, awakes with a startle on a Chicago commuter train, only to be completely confused when a fellow passenger (Michelle Monaghan) mumbles something about taking his advice—he has no idea who she is or why he is on the train. A few minutes later, a bomb goes off and he is jolted awake—and finds himself, for no apparent reason, in a cramped capsule.
A mysterious officer named Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) starts giving him orders on a video screen. She tells Colter that he is part of an experimental program that uses a “source code” to send subjects back to replay the last eight minutes of another person’s life. Colter’s assignment is to find the man who sets off the bomb on the train in order to stop the next big scale attack on Chicago.
The pop-science premise here may come across as implausible, but everything that happens in the realm of the “source code” is so realistic that the audience will not find any of it ridiculous.
There is a sense of gripping urgency that director Duncan Jones imbues into the film, quickly accelerating the tempo of the action midway through but still keeping it tight and coherent.
An impressive performance by Gyllenhaal, Monaghan and Farmiga also helps add heart and tenderness to the thriller. Suspend your disbelief, sit back and enjoy the riveting ride that is Source Code.