Source Code

A film by Duncan Jones
In Cinemas April 1st (appropriate)

by Joanna Orland

You may know of Duncan Jones by his reputation as the offspring of David Bowie and director of the high calibre Sci-Fi film MOON. With such an excellent outing as a first-time director, expectations were high for Source Code.

For his new film, the director has replaced the charismatic lead of Sam Rockwell with an underwhelming and annoying Jake Gyllenhaal, has added a lot more dialogue and action, and a slick support cast to pad out the film.

What works for MOON is just not present in Source Code. While it is still an entertaining film, it is hard to get emotionally involved, mostly due to Jake Gyllenhaal the lack of Sam Rockwell. Recently I discovered that Sam Rockwell is not a good actor, he is just Sam Rockwell in every film… but that is what is great about him. And where Jones admittedly wrote MOON with Rockwell in mind, Source Code could have been for any actor in any era, and not in a timeless fashion, but rather an emotionless generic piece of art that is all style and little substance kind of fashion.

There are some moments where the director is trying to be profound and heighten the drama, but really, when the audience isn’t feeling empathetic to the characters in the first place, it’s really hard to pull this off. This is a take it or leave it kind of film.

Perhaps this review wouldn’t be so harsh if MOON was less of a fantastic debut feature film from a first time director. Anything Jones was to direct following that would certainly be a let down. But even with a few minor adjustments this film could have been epically better. A different lead man for starters (WE MISS YOU SAM!!!!), a less robotic supporting cast (Vera Farmiga, I cannot believe you are an Oscar-nominated actress!?), and less pretentious try-hard directing. Sorry, it just felt contrived.

This film actually reminded me quite a bit of a film I saw 10 years ago entitled Imposter, a Philip K. Dick story starring Gary Sinise. The plots of these two films are very different, but both being of the Sci-Fi genre and having a similar tone and pace from what I remember (I’m probably way off base here having spent 10 years not thinking about this film)… I don’t actually have a point here, I’m just reminiscing about Gary Sinise and wondering how many versions of CSI there are on tellie now.

To end this review on a positive note, the camera work and cinematography on Source Code were excellent. As an architectural film about Chicago, I can recommend no greater film. But if this is to be a film about more than the Chicago skyline, it really needs a Sam Rockwell!!!!!

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