This is proper sci fi, not a war movie with robots instead of terrorists, not a love story with an alien attack subplot, proper sci fi. With talk of quantum mechanics and alternative time lines and ideas of inner space the main plot is well thought out, given a few minutes thought it would tie your brain up in knots. Fortunately though, some very good writing convinces you that you get it long enough for you to stop thinking about it. Very impressed.
The film begins with the score (and the shot) hitting you like Vertigo, director Duncan Jones has either been inspired by the infamous Mr. Hitchcock or Hanna Barbara cartoons (pure sensibility makes me suggest the prior). The setting too is clearly an homage to Hitcock's Strangers on a Train, although these aren't the only influences to be noticed. I am reminded one of my favourite writers, Phillip K. Dick who incidentally penned The Adjustment Bureau, released recently; obviously Quantum Leap with a deeper sense of morality and urgency; Groundhog Day; The Outer Limits; anything that has ever touched on time travel. This is hardly an original plot but it delivers it very well.
Jake Gyllenhaal is great, bringing the confused, higher sense of being of Donnie Darko to meet the "be all that you can be" of Jar Head. You believe his confusion, supported by clever camera angles, his perplexed look is reminiscent of a young Dennis Quaid. His dynamic with Michelle Monaghan is electric, I get the feeling that the two of them had a lot of fun making this movie. She is comfortable on screen and I'm in no doubt that this film will land her many more great roles. The same applies to Vera Farmiga who manages to convey emotion while preserving her military cold front.
Source Code delivers what so few films do these days, everything. There's life and death, ethical dilemma, action, philosophy, romance, explosions, paternal angst, social commentary and even art. Yes that's right, art, if you search the 6outof10 blog you'll find a happy little article I've written about Anish Kapoor. The very same appears quite heavily in the film, his bean sculpture in Chicago being used as a metaphor for transforming the world from one state of affairs to another, brilliant. All this and it manages also to be quite a light film, it will never be a chore to watch, which is good because it is almost certainly a film that will develop with multiple viewings.
I'm a fan 8/10