End of April 11 Column
Mali Journal

Source Code

4 stars out of 5
Welcome to the Inception age in Hollywood, however brief it may be. I recently read a commentary that noted that Inception was a wildly original science-fiction movie that was also wildly successful. As a result, since imitation is the sincerest form of Hollywood, we are going to be flooded during the next year with wildly original science-fiction movies with original stories. Adjustment Bureau was probably the thin edge of the wedge (even though it was an adaptation, the source material was not well known). And now, Source Code: an American film with American actors (Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan and Vera Farmiga) that isn't boring and utterly predictable! Ben Ripley's original script (not a Comic Book! Not a sequel!) is directed to perfection by Duncan Jones. I am something of an expert on "time loop" movies (of course, this isn't really a time loop, as the script points out several times), since Groundhog Day is my favorite film. This is a first-class effort in that "genre," with incremental and interesting change in each repetition of events. Probably a little too much information on how it works (a trap Groundhog Day avoided), but it turns out we need it to even begin to understand the very confusing ending. This is like a murder mystery, with the gradual revelation of clues about what is going on, as an Air Force pilot is sent back, over and over, to the last eight minutes on a train before it crashes. The special effects in the bomb blast scenes are chilling and, frankly, scary, something I wasn't sure could still be achieved in the CGI era. If you are interested in a meditation on the nature of reality, and /or its mutability, this movie provides a thinking person's science fiction look at the subject.