Although it has a touch of Groundhog Day about it, with maybe a whisper of Tony Scott’s thriller Déjà Vu, Duncan Jones’s latest mind-bending sci-fi actioner still comes across as a highly original and inventive blockbuster. Plus, it doesn’t assume its audience is stupid.
US Air Force pilot Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) is made to relive the last minutes of a deceased commuter’s train journey before a bomb exploded causing mass death and casualties. He needs to find out where the bomb is hidden and who planted it, but there are darker things at work here, and the officer instructing our hero on his mission (Vera Farmiga) seems to know more than she is letting on. There is, of course, a love interest involved, in the form of beautiful train passenger Christina Warren (Michelle Monaghan), but this helps make the whole thing feel more human rather than crassly conventional.
It’s all rather ludicrous, but immensely enjoyable; Jake Gyllenhaal is a very likable leading actor, managing to be both impressively tough and adorably sensitive when the moment needs it. Fast, frantic and intelligent, with a killer ending — what more could you ask for?
Source Code (2011), directed by Duncan Jones, is released on DVD and Blu-ray from StudioCanal, certificate 12.