By MICHAEL WALTERS
“Source Code” is a little like a more action packed “Groundhog Day,” except the day only lasts eight minutes and then everyone gets blown up in the end. Jake Gyllenhaal is a fighter pilot who as part of an experimental government technology gets transported back in time into the final eight minutes of another man’s body to try to stop a mad bomber from blowing up a train and the rest of Chicago.
Gyllenhaal only has eight minutes to find the source of the bomb before he and everyone else on the train is blown to smithereens. And if he doesn’t succeed he’s sent right back onto the train to try again. But as he repeats the scenario he gathers more and more clues, and begins to look for a way not only to save the city, but also a woman on the train played by Michelle Monaghan.
While it takes place in Chicago, it was mostly shot in Montreal. But auteur in the making Duncan Jones directs it was a refreshing visual flair that gives it just the right amount of pop and sizzle cut with a healthy dose of alienation. It’s admirable that “Source Code” seems to know the exact limitations of ridiculous premise. It’s a tightly plotted thrill ride that knows how to deliver the goods, and knows that it’s time to get out when the getting’s still good. And in today’s cinematic landscape of sophomoric overlong epics, that stands out as quite an accomplishment.