Our last three movie adventures were disasters — The Green Hornet, Red Riding Hood and The Adjustment Bureau. The Green Hornet was so bad I wanted to walk out; Red Riding Hood was plain disappointing. The Adjustment Bureau was almost good but I hated the Judeo-Christian underpinnings that some forces out there control our lives and choices. I mean, I watch movies to get entertained — not to get bombarded with theological shit. So, there.
Last weekend, when Sam asked if we could see a movie, I felt like collapsing. The memory of the last three disasters was still fresh on my mind and I just felt that I didn’t want to waste any more time and money on crap. Sam said the disasters were because her daddy and I kept choosing the movies we’d watch (the implication, of course, is that we’re bad at choosing movies), that if we let her do the choosing, we won’t end up with another disaster. I figured that “bad news comes in threes”, we’ve gone past the third bad news so, maybe, the cycle would be broken. Sam and Alex both voted to watch Source Code (outvoting Speedy who wanted to see The Lincoln Lawyer; I wasn’t interested in anything) so we went and watched Source Code.
To cut to the chase, it was darn good. Some spoilers ahead.
Source Code is a science fiction with touches of romance and obvious (though unarticulated) snide commentaries on how military experiments de-humanize people. Think Déjà Vu (the 2006 thriller starring Denzel Washington) with less focus on the romance and the time loop experience being more sinister and excruciating because the subject (Captain Colter Stevens played by Jake Gyllenhaal) was not a volunteer but, rather, a literal guinea pig forced into military experiment slavery.
Time loop? You know, parallel realities. Like time travel but for a finite period whereby at the end of the loop, the person ends up in the time he is originally from. If you haven’t seen Déjà Vu, there’s Groundhog Day (probably the best example because the memory of the person gets reset every time the loop resets). Another example would be the Time-Turner necklace that Professor McGonagall gave Hermione in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban so that she could attend simultaneous classes.
Source Code is the name of a military program where a person can “live” the last eight minutes of someone else’s life. The explanation is likened to the afterglow of a light bulb which, after being switched off, does not immediately go dark but, for a little time, retains an incandescent glow. That incandescent glow, per the Source Code program, is the last eight minutes of a person’s life retained in the “afterglow” of the brain.
Captain Stevens is sent to relive the last eight minutes of the life of one Sean Fentress who died in a train bombing. His mission: find the bomb and the bomber because the train explosion was supposed to be a mere prologue and the bomber promises that the main event would be much more disastrous. It takes Captain Stevens several trips back in time to discover the bomb and the bomber. And although Source Code was not meant to alter events that have already transpired, Captain Stevens resolves to prevent the bombing because — ta da — while living out Sean Fentress’s last eight minutes, he meets Christina Warren (played by Michelle Monaghan), and so on and so forth, and he does not want her to die.
How it all ends, and the revelation as to how Captain Stevens ended up in the Source Code program to begin with, I will leave for you to see.