27 August, 2011

Source Code (With Spoilers)

Normally I wait a few days before I blog about a movie I have seen, but it seems that I need to write about the Source Code at the earliest. So here I am telling you why I disliked the Source Code so much. It's important you realize this is my opinion and I respect whatever is yours. This post is also by no means to work-up the people who liked Source Code or get back at them or anything. I simply did not like the film that apparently a lot of people did and I feel I have the right to express my opinion just like anyone else.

Although I prefer to have my reviews, or in this case rant, spoiler free, but it seems that in case of Source Code it would be very difficult. So I have taken all the possible precautions to be as vague as possible, but to be honest if you haven't watched the movie and plan to, then do avoid reading this. In other words SPOILER WARNING!!

I'm not even going to bother with what's right with Source Code. Or, maybe just for a second mention that having the director of the brilliant film Moon, Duncan Jones, and a cast with Jake Gyllenhaal and Vera Farmiga is the only thing that is good about the movie. Other than that, nothing seems to work for me;

For starters, Source Code lacked originality. Its part Déjà Vu, part Vantage Point, and a lot of Groundhog Day. Now, having an Army pilot, Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal), go back to an event (train bombing), time and again for 8 minutes at a stretch, to find the bomber is not a bad premise. It's also not bad that there is a certain mystery to his identity. But then, the entire movie relies on situations and explanations that are not a big deal and are forcefully made important. How hard would it be to brief Colter Stevens the first time he asks about his identity rather than slowly and painfully making a huge deal out of it?

Unfortunately, the film tries hard to be intelligent when it is not. By the third time our hero goes back, I was yawning (I felt similarly during Vantage Point, which went on and on for eternity). Maybe I watch a lot of movies, but it wasn't that hard to spot the bomber early on and nor was it a surprise when slowly and surely we discover that our hero is dead with his brain being kept alive. In fact when Colter Stevens does find out that he is "technically" dead, his emotional out-lash is so non-existent, that it seems he might actually be brain dead. And, before anyone says, "what about the episode with his Dad?” that to me simply felt forced.

The other thing that I gathered from the movie was that it wasn't so much so about finding the bomber as it was about finding the true identity of Colter Stevens. Everything related to the bombing is done half heartedly. Our "brilliant" bomber figures that by leaving his wallet in the train, as he deports, will make people think he died in it. Umm... what are the chances that an explosion that derails a train and kills everyone on it, will not fry up his pretty ordinary wallet and everything inside it? As for the whole reason for the bombing, let’s not even go there. Wait, maybe we should, because certainly a mad man simply saying he wants to flatten out the city so we can start building it again is a good enough reason. I mean he does not want a ransom; he has no other reason, so why not blow up the city in the first place. Why blow up the train and alert the city when in reality you just want to blow it up. Seriously, give the guy some meat. Give his character something to work with.    

This brings us to another point that bothered me a lot. If you have one main event that requires special effects in your movie, you make sure that it is good. The entire train crash is so badly done, it felt like the entire budget was spent on hiring the cast and nothing was left for the special effects.

The cast I admit is stellar. Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, Jeffery Wright, even the comedian Russell Peters all make for a good watch. The problem I have is that no one really shows any emotion or is given enough time or screen presence to shine. Michelle Monaghan is simply a by-product. She walks, talks, and screams throughout the movie as if someone behind the camera is controlling her actions. There is no real surprise, sadness, nothing. Vera Farmiga was by far the biggest disappointment. To have a talent like her to only do what I would call a video Skype conversation is a shame. Once again, her character lacked depth. She's working at a top secret project and seems clueless half the time. Yes, I am aware they were only testing the Source Code till now, but wouldn't someone handling it be more prepared? In fact, would you not have come across the problems during the test runs and have a solution? Or if this is first time the Source Code is used, then wouldn’t you test the project in advance to see how it does rather than waiting for some catastrophe to happen in order to test it?

This brings me to the ending. There are so many moments towards the end when the movie could have ended well. The "kiss" would be a great place to end the movie. It leaves the audience with a bit of mystery, a bit of romance, and something to talk about. But, how could that be? It is apparently extremely essential that the movie ends in a way so as to leave the option of a sequel. Well, that just blows it all up!

So, I’m sure to get a lot of heat for my rant or who known maybe nothing, but the fact remains the film was anything but entertaining for me. Leaving aside the scientific mumbo jumbo which honestly I never bothered to understand, the story, the characters, everything was rather disappointing. A rather sorry 1/5 Star Rating.  


  1. I would give it a 4 star rating. There was something missing in it but I pretty much enjoyed it. However, I really liked reading your review.

  2. Hi. I got a lot from people on twitter when I told them I hated the movie. Some even said I am doing this to just work people up to react, but in all honesty as the review suggests I did not like the movie one bit. But then that's what cinema is all about, it means something different to each individual.